Category Archives: Ephesians

Three T’s for Tuesday – 9/18/12 – Gossip

**What works for my family, may not be the right thing for your family but I have learned a lot through trial and error, mistake and prayer.  I am no expert on families, but I am an expert on mine.  My opinions and suggestions are simply that, opinions and suggestions.  Take from them what works for you and put aside the rest :)

Today’s Three T’s for Tueday:  Tackling Tough Topics is…

Sins of the tongue:  Gossip

What are your thought on gossip?

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Gossip can have devastating effects on a persons life.  The beginning of gossip can seem very innocent, but after, it spreads like wildfire through a group of people, it changes, comes out fierce, out of control.  What began as a simple little spark can turn into a full blown inferno.

In a recent Bible study on the book Proverbs, one suggestion from Author, Wendy Blight, on the topic of gossip was, asking a set of questions before choosing to talk about something or someone:

Is it helpful?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?
Is it true?

If you can answer yes to all of those, then there’s probably no harm in discussing it but what if you answered no?

We need to carefully think about the things we are saying.  Our words are so powerful.  We can crush spirits and break hearts simply by the words we choose to speak.  At the same time, we have the power to encourage, support and love through those very same words.  It’s a choice we are given and not a choice that always comes easy.

For me, gossip has been a struggle.  It’s something I have to work very hard at to avoid.  In recent months, I have felt very strong convictions about the words I use, what I say and when I say them.  I have made plenty of mistakes with my words but thankfully am learning to hold my tongue, that I don’t always have to have something to say.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Proverbs 15:1

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. Proverbs 26:22

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.  Proverbs 11:13

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.  Proverbs 20:19

A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.  Proverbs 12:23

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.  Proverbs 16:24

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.  Proverbs 21:23

The Bible is very clear about how powerful our words are.  There are many verses that refer to taming our tongue, choosing our words carefully, avoiding gossip and using our words to build up, encourage, love and teach one another.

I don’t always get it right and sometimes I let gossip win.  My prayer is that you and I will overcome this battle with love in our hearts, knowing that we have the choice to either tear someone down or build them up.

Which will you choose?

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  Colossians 4:6

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

There’s a party in town…

Have you heard?  There’s a party going on!

No, not that kind of party.  Not the kind where we all gather in the living room, talk about the past, eat home cooked food, and pretend life is perfect.

No, this party is ugly.  It’s sneaky.  It’s filled with snide remarks and criticism.  It’s excitement and worry.  It’s annoyance and hope.  Yeah, it’s all that.

A week or so ago, a bunch of people gathered in Florida for the Republican National Convention.  This week, they’re in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Democratic National Convention.

Boring, right?

Well, in my most honest, non-political opinion, yes.

If you log onto Facebook or watch the news, that’s where you see this party really going on.  People are angry and talk ugly.  They bash other people.  Different opinions are criticized and judged.

One of the most disturbing things I have seen through all of this is that many of the people doing the criticizing, name calling, bashing, judging, are the very people who claim to be Christians. Admittedly, in my life, I have done my own fair share of complaining and criticizing instead of helping but aren’t we as Christians, held to a certain standard?  Aren’t we suppose to be Christ-like, loving, supportive and encouraging?

Mark  12:31 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”

In 1 Peter 2:21, we are told, “to this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to “follow God’s example as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us…”

None of those include stipulations that say if you’re neighbor is a republican, democrat or even a banana!  They simply say love one another as Christ loved us.  We are expected to encourage, love and respect each other.

Ya know, really, there are things I like about each party and there are things I dislike about each party.  There are skeletons in the closets of everyone involved, just like there are skeletons in mine and yours.  Everyone will mess up, but everyone will do something good too.  No one candidate is truly better than the other, but either of them can be their best with our support, encouragement, love and prayers.

Honestly, would you want that position?  The one where you have to have an army of guards around you constantly so that you’re safe?  The one where every word that comes from your mouth is ridiculed, examined, debated, misconstrued, etc.

I know I wouldn’t.  Today I ask, if you’re watching any of this political stuff over the next few months (and if you’re watching any TV at all, you can hardly avoid it), no matter who you plan to vote for or what party you’re affiliated with, keep in mind that these are real people, with real lives, who have cared enough to put themselves in a position of criticism and ridicule for the sake of our country and while neither party will be perfect and people will always have something to complain about, they are our leaders and they deserve our prayers instead of us sitting back on our comfy sofa, whining on the internet while they are out there doing the job!

I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  1 Timothy 2:1-2

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from you lips.  Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.  Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.  Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.  Proverbs 4:23-27

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Choosing to Follow…


Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and love like You did
You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me a grateful leper at Your feet

Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours
For days now, these lyrics from Casting Crowns song, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”, have replayed over and over in my head.  I can help but think of times when I cast the very stones that have been cast my way.  How sad is it that all too quickly, we move from being torn apart, shredded, destroyed and then at the first glimpse of righteousness, we take it all for granted?!  I am ashamed that I fell into that pit.
Today I pray to never forget where I’ve been, the pain I have felt, the fears that have overwhelmed me, the sight of so much, the evil of the world.  I pray that as God walks with me, He guides me with gentle reminders so that rather than casting stones, I can stretch out my arm to grasp hand in hand another lost soul, for that is where I was and somewhere along the lines, that is what someone did for me.
As much as I have prayed to escape the pain I’ve experienced, to hide from a world of hurt, and to have it all just go away, what worth would all my suffering have if I could not grow from it, use it to better myself, encourage others, and give all the glory to God for bringing me out of such darkness?
I have been reading a wonderful book by Renee Swope, “A Confident Heart”.  In her book, she says, “You can’t go back and change the circumstances or relationships that have wounded you, but you can go back and process the pain with Jesus.”  She also states, “God could use my mistakes and hurts for His greatest purposes if I would allow Him to change me through them”.
What a wonderful thought – God can use me and all my imperfections to glorify Him while at the same time, changing me … for the better!
And with that, let me lead into a topic I mentioned a few weeks ago.  You will see some changes coming.  I have felt over and over a direction for my life and and believe there is a path in which God is clearly leading me and I am choosing to follow.  My head is filled with questions, worries, fears, insecurities, etc. but my heart is filled with an ache for the Lord, a desire to know Him more and to follow His lead, His call for my life. 
In the weeks to come, this blog will merge into a new home.  The domain name will change but this one will link to the new site.  The colors will change as will the name.  I have enjoyed my last year as Morning Glory but I am the Imperfect Princess.  I have and will make mistakes.  I will have to apologize and occasionally admit I am wrong.  I will fail.  I will stumble.  I will fall.  I will say the wrong thing.  I will sometimes deal with things in the wrong way.  Through it all, He is next to me and the best part of it all is He forgives me.  He knows I am not perfect, never have been and never will be but He loves me anyway – I am His imperfect princess!
I pray that you all will follow me on this journey and that you will take away from here all that you need.  I pray that He speaks through me, straight to your hearts.  Please share my blog with others you think could benefit from it :)  My hope is that through this, He is using me and my life to help someone else.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

If all goes as expected (when I finally get the new site domain settled) the new site should be at www.theimperfectprincess.com .  I’m still working on the graphics, logo and such.  Please, be in prayer for me that the direction I am taking is the one I am suppose to take.  God has laid many things on my heart lately.  I pray He leads me and I continue to follow with an open heart, never forgetting the darkness He brought me out of and the Light He shines my way now!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Letting go of doubt and holding on to faith!

1 Corinthians 2:1-5  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

When I first read that verse this past Sunday and even now typing it out, it nearly brings me to tears.  This is something I have been struggling with.  As God has opened doors for me to lead others, to teach others and to share His word, I have struggled with inadequacies, insecurity and doubt.  I have feared that my lack of knowledge would be a huge downfall in this area.  I have wondered if I am qualified to be in this position.

I have even doubted God.  

Through all of that He continues to reassure me time and time again that I am where He wants me.  Verses like the one above from 1 Corinthians are where I find my comfort.  Paul did not come with fancy words and superior wisdom, he simply came and shared what He felt God leading him to share.  He admitted his weaknesses and fears.  Being a brilliant scholar, Paul had all the knowledge to share intellectual arguments.  Instead, He relied fully on God.

Paul’s statement doesn’t give me an excuse not to study.  I still have to read and learn as much as I can and thankfully, God has given me that desire but I also know that the wisdom and knowledge doesn’t come over night.  It’s something I will have to work at for the rest of my life.  What a blessing it is to me, though, to know that I don’t have to know all the big words or have the fanciest presentation for God to use me.

I do mess up – just ask the ladies from my Wednesday night class about emnity, which I now know means “The state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” HA!

I still don’t know many of the stories.
I am weak when it comes to memorizing verses.
I struggle to make sense of some of what I read.
I doubt.

But…

I keep it real.
I make people smile.
Others have found their voice in my presence.
I have also found my voice.
I have shared my own weaknesses and doubts.
I am learning.
We are all learning.

Psalm 31:3  Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

I am nothing more than a testimony to how God can impact a life and how He can bring someone to a place of hope and faith.  By His grace, I am saved! 

Ephesians 2:8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Letting go and moving forward…

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Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Ephesians 4:29-32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
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Wow!  That sure isn’t easy to live by!

“clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Compassion?  Kindness?  Humility?  Gentleness?  Patience?

What if we feel betrayed, offended, put down, hurt?  You mean I have to show compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience?

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.”

You mean I have to forgive?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

What?!  I shouldn’t express my anger and frustration about others?  I shouldn’t complain about the way they treat me?

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

I have to get rid of bitterness, rage and anger?  Why can’t I be mad?  When someone does something wrong or hurts me, why shouldn’t I be angry with them?

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

And again, I have to forgive?  But I didn’t do anything wrong .. why should I forgive?

These are all questions I have asked over the years.  In fact, I’ve asked them many times over the years and some of them even recently.  Some things I have learned over the past year or so have really helped me in recent times when I find myself going back to these same questions.

Put your focus on God, not others
This one I have struggled with all my life.  I am a people watcher.  I have said before, I spent much of my time in church watching everyone else, seeing who they are sitting with, what they’re wearing, how their hair is fixed, etc.  My ears failed to hear what God had to say because my eyes were too focused on the people around me.  When I made the choice to stop watching everyone around me, I was finally able to start hearing God’s messages.

Find peace through God’s word
This is hard.  I don’t care for change.  Change sometimes means moving on, from things we love.  Just as we have to grow up, we also have to learn to accept change.  Several years ago, I was in the mindset that if things changed, it would be devastating to me.  It would have sent me into a whirlwind of emotions.  Now, when facing change, even though it may still be difficult, I face it with the help of my Bible, God’s word.  I have found so much peace in recent storms just by simply embracing my time with God.  Things that would have sent me spiraling, have now lost that power.  There is power in God’s word! 

*Choose* to live by Gods word
Choose being the key word…we have choices in life.  We can choose to lash out at others or we can choose to be careful with our words.  We can choose to harbor anger with others or we can choose to forgive them.  We have many, many choices in life.  I have not always made the best choices.  Sometimes I still make bad choices.  My choices in life affect those around me as well.  That’s something I never considered until recently.  I have learned that others choices have impacted my own life, affected the lives of my children, my family and others around me.  The choices weren’t necessarily the right ones, but I have to live with them anyway.  Learning this has made me more aware of my own choices and how they impact my life and the lives of those around me.  I find myself thinking a lot more than I use to.  I have always been very quick to act or speak.  I now find myself really thinking out my words before I say them, sometimes not even saying them at all.  I am slower to act and react to situations because I try to think about the outcome and how my actions will affect the situation.  Does it better it or bring more harm?  It may seem like the whimpy way out but that’s fine by me.  I won’t always get this right and I am sure this is something I will continue to struggle with but I will also continue to work on it and pray about it.

When doors close, God opens new doors
This one is huge for me!  In the past few years, I was secure in my friendships and yet I had turmoil inside.  I battled with making sacrifices for the sake of others.  I was a go with the flow kind of gal, sacrificing my own interests and desires for the sake of others.  I tried to be a people pleaser but it just wasn’t working for me.  Slowly, I backed away from many of the situations that were stirring up the emotions inside me but it was hard to completely let go.  Well, God had His hand on that and closed some doors.  At the same time, He opened new doors.  I started this blog, I started my classes at church, I joined online Bible studies, etc.  I strongly believe that was all God.  His plan for my life was to open doors that would bring me closer to Him and close the doors that were pulling me away from Him.  I am so grateful!  Even though it has been hard letting go of some things, I know that this is the best direction for my life and my family.  My patience is better with my children.  My heart is stronger for my friends.  My faith is stronger.  My trust is stronger.  My love for God is growing more every day.  I am learning how to keep my focus on Him in everything I do.

Do I still mess up?  Yes.  I admit, I still get it all wrong.  I still get angry.  I still get my feelings hurt.  I still ask why things have to change.  I still question if some of my choices are the right choices.  I still wonder if some doors can be reopened.

The thing that puts rest to those questions is knowing where I have been, embracing where I am now and looking forward to where I am headed.  Every time doubt starts to show itself, a verse will fill my mind or the desire to pick up my Bible will run through me.

Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Thoughts on the church…

Scary title?  I felt a bit of a tremble run through my veins as I typed it.  Could this provoke different responses?  Sure!

The past couple days, I have followed a blog that I found through a friend.  The blog shared thoughts on leaving the church as well as thoughts on staying in the church.  What I found more interesting than the blog itself were the multiple responses the blog had provoked.  There were responses of hate, anger and frustration.  There were also responses of encouragement, hope and trust.  People of all ages, denominations and titles shared their thoughts.  If you’re interested in following that yourself, you’ll find it here and here.

While reading through these responses, I thought of my own experiences in the church.  Growing up, my family wasn’t very consistent with attending church.  Sometimes we’d go regularly for a few months and then we’d slack off and it would be a special occasion like Easter or Christmas that we’d go.  As a young girl, it felt like it was really more about dressing pretty and sitting quietly than it was about knowing God.

I don’t know if this is typical for a Methodist church, but most of the folks in the Methodist church I grew up in were quiet frankly, old.  This coming from my 6-18 year old self who saw very little other than white hair and wrinkles as I sat in the sanctuary snuggled up to my grandpa while his mouth dropped open to let out a quiet snore.  Did he sleep through the services often?  Yep, from what I remember, that was a regular part of our Sunday morning worship.  I know I napped through the sermons regularly.  Did that mean my grandpa loved God any less?  NOPE!  Not at all, in fact, he was one of the most Godly men I have ever known.  There was more Christ-like actions and attitude in him than I have ever seen from any one person.  Do I agree with everything he did or believed?  Nope.  But here’s the thing – he grew up in a different time than I did.  His life and situations were different.  Things were accepted then that most certainly are not accepted now and vice versa – there are some things we accept now that they would most certainly not have accepted then.  Did he always make the right choices?  No.  But I saw in him, a man who lived for God, who loved God and who had the heart of Christ.  That was enough for me to see that a person could make mistakes and it didn’t mean that he loved God any less, it simply meant he was human and emphasized the perfectness of Jesus and only Jesus.

I once visited a church – I believe they claimed to be a Southern Baptist church but they were nothing like the Southern Baptist church I have been a member of for years now.  That particular church left me feeling afraid and uneasy about church and about God.  I was afraid the preacher was either going to lash out and kill us all or fall over dead from a massive heart attack.  I simply am not comfortable with the style of preaching he used and quickly knew that was not the church for me.

My husband grew up in our church.  He has many fond memories of youth activities and a relationship with God.  Is he a sinner?  Of course.  Did his going to church make him always choose the right path?  No, not at all.  We are all sinners and we will always mess things up and make mistakes.  I believe the key in overcoming our faults and shortcomings is our ability to be honest with ourselves and with God.  Can you openly admit your wrong?  Can you go to God and ask for forgiveness?  Can you forgive yourself?

As I said, my husband grew up in the church we go to.  I have been a member there since 2007 but have attended since we got married in 1999.  It has been our perfect church for many reasons over the years:

It’s where my husband grew up.
His family is there.
He knew everyone.
The pastor married us.
There are a lot of kids there.
It’s good socially for our kids.
There’s lots of young people.
There’s lots of people, period.
They offer a lot of activities.
They have a lot of classes to choose from.
They have a big Vacation Bible School.
My kids will have lots of friends.
I will have lots of friends.
Life will be perfect.

Those were my thoughts years ago.  I went to church because I married Tony and his family went there and I was expected to go there as well.  I went to church because our son could have lots of friends to play with and grow up with a large group of kids (remember, my old Methodist church and all the older folks?  There were only about 5 kids total in our whole church).  I went to church because the pastor had married us and I didn’t want to “look bad” because I wasn’t there.

I struggled with many things in the early years of our marriage.  I struggled with a very deep, dark depression.  I avoided everyone.  In fact, I didn’t come to church and often sent our son with my mother-in-law so that he could have everything our church would offer but I wanted none of it.  I didn’t *need* the church.  In my mind, I could love God just as much from the comfort of my home.  While that may be true, I wasn’t living it.  I wasn’t loving God just as much.  I wasn’t living for God.  I was consumed by my own self-pity and darkness.  No one knew me, sought me out or realized what kind of darkness I was struggling with.  Was that there fault?  Not really, but I guess it might have been nice if someone had noticed.  Maybe I didn’t even make that possible.  Where am I going with all this?

I was there for all the wrong reasons.  Did you figure that out by my list?  The sad thing is, I’m sure I wasn’t and am not alone.  I am most certain there are many, many people there for the wrong reasons and many of them, like me, don’t even realize they aren’t there for the right reasons.  It was like I was blind to what church was all about.  I couldn’t see past the glitz and glamor.  I couldn’t see beyond the idea of status quo.  I couldn’t get past my shame.  I couldn’t be honest about myself because I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted so I chose not to accept.

Until about a year ago, I was getting as much out of church as I did when I slept through it on the pew of the Methodist church I grew up in.  I might as well have been sleeping, but, I finally woke up.  Let me tell you, when God wakes you up, He really wakes you up.  I went from sleeping to totally on fire for God.

I am awake.
I am alive.
I am excited.
I am driven.
I am focused.
I am consumed.

The church – helped me get there.  I don’t know that there is any one, perfect church and certainly there are no perfect people in the church.  We all have our stories, our histories, our faults, our shortcomings, our strongholds, our weaknesses, etc.  but we also have our strengths and it’s the folks who chose to show their strengths and use them for God’s glory that helped me get to where I’m at.  Some folks, who were weak like me, were also part of the stepping stones in the path God laid before me.  He used other people to help wake me up.  Were they all perfect?  Nope!  Were some of them in church for the wrong reasons?  Most definitely!  Did that make them any less capable of impacting someone else?  No.

So, my point is, our actions and our beliefs are seen and heard whether our hearts are in the right place or not.  Sometimes, our faults can help others see a path they don’t want to go down.  We can learn from our own and others mistakes.  Other times, someone says just the right thing at the right time and a whole new perspective opens our eyes.  It’s when we choose not to be a part of it at all, that we are lost, or at least it was in my case.  The time I spent hiding from everyone was safe and comfortable but yet I was miserable and consumed with darkness, anger, fear, anxiety, etc.  The time I spent in the church was uncomfortable and has had many hurts, lots of drama, things I have had to experience not because I wanted to but because we are born sinners and because we make bad choices, we say the wrong things, we make mistakes and we are human.  Putting yourself into a place with people whom none of which are perfect is at some point, without a doubt, going to lead to hurt feelings, drama and chaos.

Through all of that, I have found God.  I didn’t find him at home, alone, in my safe, dark place.   I found him through people who chose to lead me, love me and even those who hurt me.

Perhaps, it was more that He found me – in His home, rather than in mine. 

Ephesians 1:18-23  18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.  
© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com