Category Archives: Patience

Oh the lessons…

Lessons

My heart sank when I walked in the room.

It was the first night of new Wednesday classes at church.  My class … a women’s Bible study on forgiveness.  (Insert big WOW here for – nothing like a big topic, right?!)

The book we are following, The Unburdened Heart by Suzanne Eller, is simply amazing.  She does a great job of writing so that no matter what your story is, you can relate to the thoughts and feelings expressed in the book.  I can’t say enough good things about it.  So for the past few weeks, I’ve been so excited about how God is going to work in the lives of the women who come to this class, myself included.  I can’t wait to see how he works and the amazing things he will do.

As excited as I was to start this journey, I was filled with anxiety and fear.  I had spent the whole day fretting over praying out loud.  A few weeks back, I shared a little here about how God was working on me with prayer.  Surely I could tackle this praying out loud thing, right?  I was going to do it this semester in class – I would take the reign and pray for the women in my class.  After all, God has been preparing me for this.  Still, I was afraid, nervous, anxious.

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Instead, I walked in with nerves raging and quickly noticed an unfamiliar couple sitting in the room – a man and a woman.  Immediately, my heart dropped.  My class was suppose to be only women.  In my head, there was simply no room for a man.  We were facing some really big topics, the possibility of deep, intimate conversations, some that simply wouldn’t be possible with a man in the room.  Without asking him to leave, I gently warned him that the class would probably be all women and that he may feel uncomfortable as well as the women who attended and hinted that he might want to consider a different class.  In most ways, you could say I handle the situation fine but the outcome was not at all what I had hoped for.

The couple left.  Not just left my class … they left the church.  If I had to guess, I’d say they left angry.  Angry that they had made the effort to come.  Angry that they needed my class and didn’t feel welcomed.  Even though my intentions were right, they left angry.

What was suppose to be a light and fun evening quickly started off totally wrong.  I managed to somehow pull myself together enough to get things going.  The class went on, women came, women opened up, we passed the tissue box around on the first night!  It was great and I am absolutely looking forward to the next 11 weeks with this wonderful group of ladies, getting to know them and seeing God working in their lives.

Why did I share the story above?  Well…if you’ve read many of my recent posts, you know that God is really teaching me.  Sometimes, lessons are pretty hard to learn.  Sometimes we have to make mistakes to learn from them.  It’s like riding a bike, sometimes we have to fall before we learn to ride.

This morning, as I’m sitting in the Sunday service, listening to our pastor talk about the man that was born blind that Jesus healed, my thoughts went elsewhere and I thought about the couple from Wednesday night.  Sitting there in church, I kept thinking about what I could have done differently.  Did I really handle it the way I should have?

The answer was simple – it was NO!

I did not do anything wrong by the way I addressed this couple but that doesn’t mean I did it right either.  Perhaps instead of standing across the room and going on and on about how uncomfortable he and everyone else would be, instead of suggesting he go elsewhere, perhaps I could have first of all introduced myself.  I did not even introduce myself.  Here was the this couple I had never met before, in my class, and I didn’t even take the time to welcome them or introduce myself.  Secondly, I could have gone over to them and after introducing myself, I could have leaned in close to inform them that this was really suppose to be a women’s class, however, they were welcome to be there if they choose.  Basically, I could have shown them kindness and acceptance, even if it went against the rules I had placed on the class.

Proverbs 21:13  Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

Philippians 2:4  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The thing is, we have encounters like this every day.  God is trying to speak to us and teach us new things every day.  I am so thankful that through this, I learned a very valuable lesson.  I learned to be still, to take the time to acknowledge people, to welcome them, to show them kindness.  I learned not to be so quick to react.  I learned that even when a choice seems right, that doesn’t make it the best choice.

How many times has God tried to teach me something and I failed to see?  How many times have I turned away from his lessons?

While I am so sad that this couple left and the weight is heavy knowing that I am the reason they left, I walk away thankful that through this difficult situation, God is teaching me and that I am able to see it, able to learn from it and hopefully it will prepare me to handle situations better in the future.  Let my mistake be your lesson!

And while you’re here, can I ask you to pray for me?  You see, because I allowed anxiety and fear take over, we failed to pray at all Wednesday night.  I did ask the class to keep the couple that left in their prayers, but I failed to pray for our class and I didn’t even take the time to ask someone else to pray.  I allowed fear to get in the way and that’s not what I want.  I know God has been preparing me for this and I know that it’s not about me, it’s about him.  Please pray for me, that he will use me and give me the words of prayer that my class needs.

 

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Love is Patient…

For the next few days, I’m going to pick apart 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that I posted a couple days ago.

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

The definition of patient includes bearing trials calmly or without complaining, not acting in haste, remaining steadfast even in opposition, difficulty or adversity and being able or willing to bear.  Kind is a sympathetic or helpful nature. 

I complain numerous times throughout the day.  Sometimes it’s over big things that have great impacts on my emotions and sometimes it’s over petty, silly stuff. 

But God says, love is patient.  Love is not complaining when things don’t go my way.  Love is finding joy in things in spite of my own desires.  Love is looking for the bright spot in a gloomy day.  

When I read love it patient, I think of young couples who have made the choice to wait until marriage for sex.  I can’t imagine being more patient than to set aside all emotions, to fight those demons daily and yet do it with such joy and love in your heart, so much respect for God, and themselves that they choose to save the most intimate part of themselves.  It takes patience and that patience is most certainly a deep love.

God says love is kind.  Love is not devaluing or criticizing.  It’s understanding and compassion.  It’s listening even when I don’t really want to.  It’s taking time to be there, to help, to reach out, to put others first, to speak softly with encouraging words.

Kindness makes me think of how I speak to my own children.  Do I always speak to them in a comforting voice or do I sometimes sound scary?  Do I carefully choose my words or do I sometimes shout words in anger without taking time to think about what they will hear?  Do I seem kind to them?  Often times, they would most likely answer, “no!”  

That’s exactly why God gives us these verses.  He knows we will struggle with these things and many others.  He knows we will fail.  He knows we are imperfect.  And yet he accepts us and wants us to seek Him for understanding, to go to Him in prayer.  We can change our ways and our hearts and He is exactly the one who can help!

Check back tomorrow for more on 1 Corinthians 13:4!


© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

The Proof of Your Love…

So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You’re made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
Oh, let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love

When it’s all said and done
When we sing our final song
Only love remains
Only love remains.

This song tugs at every inch of my heart every single time I hear it.  The group, For King & Country nailed all the emotions tied around our importance of showing love.

So what are we, as Christians to do?  Preach?  Teach?  Submit?  Believe?  Trust?

We are to love.

Love like Christ.
Love unconditionally.
Love wholeheartedly.
Love endlessly.
Love with patience.

Love.

The word love appears in the NIV Bible 319 times in the Old Testament and 232 times in the New Testament.  (per this site)

That’s a whole bunch of love!

It’s not always easy to love one another but it’s what we are expected to do.  It’s part of our job.  How much better would things be if we could set aside our differences and simply love each other as God loves us.

**Join me this month as we dig through verses in the Bible that reference love.

What does God say about His love for us?  
About how we show love towards others?  
Love for ourselves?

Check back daily for your 2013 February Love! 

Do you have a favorite love verse?  Post your love verses in the comments below!

John 13:34  
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Lessons for my kiddos…

I remember as a kid, there was some kind of magic in the air.  Do you remember it?

You know what I’m talking about, right?

Like…

Believing that mom’s checks meant infinite money.
Santa Clause was such a nice guy to leave so many cool things for me.  The Easter Bunny was pretty nice too!
Mommy’s kisses could fix almost any boo-boo.  What her kisses didn’t fix, Papa’s hugs could.
Most friends were easy to make and hard to lose.
Friendships lasted forever – even if in reality forever was only about two weeks.
Bugs were kind of fun.
Romping through the woods was like an adventure through a magical castle.
Evil didn’t exist except in movies and we were too young to watch those movies.
Wishing stars really worked.
Singers sang their songs directly to me – they even wrote them about me.
Cars never ran out of gas.
Bills?  Everyone gets tv, power, phone – it’s just part of what you get for being a grown-up!
Grown-ups have it made because they get to make all the choices.
Grown-ups get to pick where they eat.
Grown-ups have all the money they want.
Grown-ups get to decide where to work and when to work.
Grown-ups could play all day.
It would be so cool to be the grown-up for a change!

And while I have many fond memories from childhood, it was also filled with much grief, loss, sadness, fear, hurt and pain.  I am so thankful that my own children have so far be able to just enjoy being children and haven’t been forced to grow up too soon.

But…

We teach our children lessons but some of the hardest lessons I have learned have been recently – as a grown up.  I want my own children to treasure the magic of childhood and not wish it away for…

Bills…they really do have to be paid and when they aren’t paid on time, you lose things like tv, power, phone, etc.  The companies really do cut you off when they don’t get their money.

Wishing stars are still very cool, interesting and pretty but those wishes – were most likely just your own strength and courage with a little help from God and answered prayers.

Singers tell stories and while the stories may be just what  you needed to hear, they most likely aren’t actually about you.

Bugs are creepy, crawly and yucky.  They’re just plain gross.

Romping through the woods can will get you lost.

Cars do run out of gas and gas does cost money – these days, a lot of money!

Mom’s rarely write checks anymore but the debit card also does not have infinite supply of money.  It will and does run out.  While you have not had to do without any major things, there actually is a point where the funds end.  Get a good paying job in a secure field of work – but make sure it’s something you enjoy.  All the money in the world won’t make you happy if you’re miserable making it.

Santa Clause is a great guy.  When you grow up, you can thank him (or her) yourself for all the cool things he gave you ;)  While you’re at it, give the Easter Bunny a carrot (trimmed in white gold would be good)!

While mommy would like to believe her kisses fix all the boo-boo’s just like you believe, much of that is the perfect design of our bodies to heal themselves and a little prayer from mommy.  When you grow up, I hope you’ll carry on the tradition and kiss your little one’s boo-boo’s away.  There is definitely still some magic there!  And I’m sorry you don’t have a chance to know what a Papa’s hugs are like – they were wonderful!

Friendships are messy.  Friends aren’t so easy to make and while we’d like to believe otherwise, they are easy to lose.  Grown-ups sometimes act like children and sometimes we hurt each other – not because we really mean to do it but sometimes it just happens.

Relationships are hard.  They take work – lots of it.  In the end, they are so worth it and the time you share is irreplaceable.  Just don’t take them for granted.

Evil does exist and not just in the movies.  There are bad people in this world but there’s also much good.  Be a part of the good.

Do kind things for others.

Pray for those who are lost.

Share what God has done in your life.

Love each other.

Don’t judge others just because they don’t walk the same way you walk.

Don’t be afraid to cry.

Remember that you are never alone.  I wasn’t truly living until I finally grew up and when I grew up, I remember how magical it felt to be a kid.  Enjoy those moments.  You will grow up one day and you will face hard times, pain, hurt, fear, rejection, loss, etc.  You will also have many blessings in between.  Lean on God.  He picked me up when I have fallen, more times than I can count – even when I didn’t think I needed His help, He was there.  Even when I turned my back on Him, He was there.  And now, as I pray for you, your safety, your future, your life, He is there, listening, guiding me as your mom, watching over us all.

Even when there is no where else to turn, remember that I told you, your Bible should be like your right hand and no matter where you go in life, you can find answers in there.  You can learn how to love others, how to work out relationships, how to handle your finances, how to love your children, how to raise them to be kind, caring, loving people, how to reach out to others and share the good that has come to you and soooooo much more just from that one book.

Through it all, stand true to yourself.  Don’t believe because someone else says it’s true.  Believe because that’s what God is telling you.  Find truth for yourself.  Seek Him.  Pray.  Listen.  Be open to what He has to say to you.

Until then, treasure every moment because the reality is you aren’t promised tomorrow.

Enjoy the innocence of being young and the magic of being a child!

© 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