Unoffended: The Freedom of Forgiveness

unoffended March 2017

If you’ve been married for more than one minute, you know that men and women are different. So many times, I’ve had the conversation with my husband where he asks why women are always getting so offended at each other. I tell him that it’s because we talk about more than just sports or the weather. We are deep, connected creatures.

Or at least were meant to be. But that very blessing can be what also causes us to hurt each other and to hold onto that hurt. I am a gregarious, outgoing person. I talk to everybody, and I talk too much. That disposition naturally lends itself to situations where I cause offense. Although I have learned a lot about not saying everything I think, that choice is still a battle for me.

My heart is very tender. I cry at every movie or commercial or when I see someone with a homeless sign on the side of the road. So people who know me hopefully know that I would not hurt them on purpose. But again, because of my personality, I am more apt to bring that offense than, say, a person who is shy and reserved. The Bible says that if we believe we have caused an offense, we are to go to that person and make it right. It doesn’t say, “if they deserve an apology.” It doesn’t say if we have legitimately offended on purpose. It says if someone is offended at us, we have to be the ones to go make it right. Don’t believe me? See for yourself from Matthew 5:23-24 (emphasis mine):

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Is it awkward to bring up what someone may have against us? Absolutely. But it’s the right thing to do, and it will make things better in almost every case. I don’t want to share specific examples on here, because I don’t know who’s reading this post, but suffice it to say that I’ve had to swallow my pride on more than one occasion and go ask someone to forgive me. I may not have known what I did wrong, and I may not have done it on purpose, but it was worth it to me not to have an unspoken tension that would keep that person from the fullness of God’s plan for them.

I don’t want to be somebody’s stumbling block, and I hope you don’t either. Jesus is coming back soon, and one of the things that will keep us from receiving God’s forgiveness is if we don’t forgive others. That’s plain too, in Matthew 6:14-15. I beg and plead that you would heed your sister’s heart. I know it doesn’t feel good to humble ourselves or to try to make a situation feel better that we don’t even believe we caused. But I can tell you as someone who has come out on the other side of many of those situations, getting the hurt out in the open is the right thing to do. It brings such a healing.

Let me end by recommending a book. It was introduced to me by my former pastor and it’s called The Bait of Satan by John Bevere. Think of Satan as a master fisherman who knows exactly how to get vulnerable people on the hook. What’s his number one lure? It’s offense. Jesus tells us not to be offended. So if you have been offended or if you believe you’ve caused offense, even inadvertently, I highly recommend this book. I will happily loan my copy to someone if you would like to work through it. I’m not saying any of this will be easy, but it will be worth it.

If you would like for me to pray for you in this situation, please leave me a comment or use my contact form to send an email. I want us all to make it to heaven, but not just that. I want us all to have a joyful, abundant life here on earth, and I believe that the forgiveness that we can offer and that we can receive is the key to that life.

Be blessed!

www.thebeaminmyeye.com

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Truth Tuesday #4: The Myth of Rest

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I have written posts several times referring to the fact that I have such a busy life. It’s really a struggle for me to rest, just as it was for Martha when Jesus came to her house. I’ve been reading the book of Luke along with the First 5 app, and something really caught my attention in chapter five. In that chapter, it says that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places:

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

When I first heard just the part about withdrawing to lonely places, I thought what we all think, which is that we all need to make time for ourselves–even Jesus did. But right after that thought, I noticed that the text says Jesus went to those lonely places for a different reason. He prayed.

I have been to the spa multiple times, and I’ve had massages and vacations and romantic getaways, but I never really come back totally rested in my spirit. I still have overwhelming thoughts and sometimes even depression or frustration. I think it must be that

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I need to follow Christ’s example.  He afforded himself purposeful rest. Yes, He needed to escape from the crowds, which we see many times in the Word. However, He did for himself what he promises to do for us, which is to give us rest for our souls. That kind of rest is never going to come from us coloring in a book or doing a relaxing craft. It’s only going to come from spending time with the Lord.

Learn why rest never feels restful and how to change that. thebeaminmyeye.wordpress.com

I was surprisingly convicted listening to this short little passage of Scripture, but that’s what I love about the Word. The rhema word is a word that comes alive to us in a moment even though we might’ve read it a hundred times before. This word I’m sharing I hope will be a rhema word for you and for me today.

Do you need rest for your soul? Come to Jesus, who says His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Leave a comment below about how I can pray for you to find rest.  I am convinced it’s for all of us.

Want to hear more about this conversation? Check out this video from our weekly Facebook Live session. It happens every week at 8:30 PM EST at my Facebook page. We’d love to have you tune in next week.

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Happy New Year!

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Wisdom from the Wilderness: Enjoy the Moment.

This wilderness that I’m in seems like it will never end.thebeaminmyeye.com
As I’ve been studying my kindred spirits, the Israelites, and the beginning of the Bible, it’s easy to see why it took them forty years to get where they were going. It’s not like they exactly behaved while they were on their exodus.  God had made them great and precious promises, but all they could see were their circumstances. Forty years of them. Without the food they wanted. Without the land they had been promised. Without a God they felt like they could see and connect with.
I sometimes feel that same way and I act just like they did. With that being said, it’s time to give myself a pep talk. As I used to say to the students in my class, it’s time for a Life Lesson with Lolley. The life lesson in this instance is precipitated by the fact that just about once a week, a different well-meaning and wonderful friend asks me how I’m doing. I can hear the questions behind the question, which are, “What are you doing? What is your next step? Has anything new happened?”
And to all those questions, I have to say, “No.” I don’t see any writing on the wall. I don’t know where we’re headed. However, and this should never be a cheesy statement, my God knows where I’m going and he’s holding me in the palm of His hand. So I’ve decided to take some wisdom from this wilderness. My first piece of wisdom is this.   I am going to enjoy the moment. I had a revelation sometime last year where I told my husband that we were never going to have these moments back that we have right now. These moments when we’re undistracted by a child and can focus on each other. These moments unhindered by a specific ministry, where we can really listen for the call of God for our hearts. I don’t want to miss those moments. So my sweet friends, if you’re wondering what I’m doing these days, it’s mostly nothing. Yes, I’m Suzy and I’m busy, and I’m a Martha, but I’m not really doing a whole lot that even I would call purposeful right about now. But there is purpose in that. I’m looking for the grand adventure that could be just around the next corner.  I don’t want to miss this moment, that moment, or anything in the here and now. I want to relish the walks I’m taking with my husband, the peaceful trips in our new kayaks, and even evenings on the couch.
I want to celebrate the fact that I have something to cry and mourn and pray about. I want to allow myself to be pulled into my heavenly father’s lap and rocked when I need it.
And not feel guilty that I’m wasting my life.
And not feel embarrassed that I’ve shared grand visions with people that haven’t yet come to pass.
I know my God has got me and that whatever plan He has for me will come to pass, even if it takes my version of forty years.  [Tweet “I know my God has got me and that whatever plan He has for me will come to pass, even if it takes my version of forty years.”]
Are you in an uncomfortable place in your walk right now?  I’d love for you to share some of your “wisdom from the wilderness” or even a prayer request.  Leave a comment below!
Your Fellow Sojourner,
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Modest is Hottest

My husband still thinks I’m hot. Or as I like to call it, ha cha cha. For some reason, he even liked me when I had long, shapeless hair, ugly clothes, and no figure whatsoever, aka. high school. I may not think I’m that great, especially on days when I’m trying to lose weight and be a certain number on the scale, but he still likes me.

A woman’s body is actually created to be attractive. Let’s just say that there are features we have that guys don’t, and so they’re just drawn to our bodies. What an incredible design of our Creator God. My husband doesn’t just have to love me for my personality, for my wit, or for my wonderful intelligence (ha!), but he can actually be attracted to my body too.

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Before you all throw up in your mouths, let me tell you what the point of all this is. It’s modesty. I’ve heard many women say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Absolutely flaunt it!

In the bedroom.

With your husband.

To whom you’re married and that’s why he’s your husband and you’re in the bedroom.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

The Victoria’s Secret at our local mall used to be a place that was about one store-front wide and was private. Now, not only does that store have a total glass front and take up two store windows, but it has expanded to have a department that’s widely-marketed to a teenage audience.  I have no problem with lingerie for married people, but with so much exposure to all of that, are we losing a little bit of the mystique?  I think so. So without further ado, here are three reasons I think modesty is not a punishment but is a commandment and a gift.

1.  In the garden of Eden, nakedness was not shameful. But when we humans became aware of that exposed state, it became a mark of shame. No amount of reality television will convince me that we’re supposed to run around with our everythings hanging out. When Adam and Eve saw that they were naked, God clothed them. He still loved them, and they would still be together intimately, but their Father clothed them.  With literal clothing.  If God chose to restore innocence to the perpetrators of the first guilty act in the garden via clothing, I think it’s important that we shield the innocence of others with our clothing choices as well.

2.  When I first meet someone, I want them to be attracted to me for something besides my body. Let me rephrase that. Back in the day, I would’ve wanted people to be attracted to me that way. Nowadays, I’ll stick with my husband 🙂 I don’t need anybody else to be attracted to me.  But back to the point: isn’t it time that we ladies had a revival of keeping it classy? I know that one of Dusty’s favorite outfits on me has always been a business suit. There’s something about an intelligent woman who is confident that screams attractiveness. A woman who has to show everything does not scream that same thing.  I can think of what she’s maybe advertising by mistake, but I won’t name at here 🙂

3. The final reason that modesty is a privilege is that it lets us focus on our style instead of our sexuality.  I am a huge fan of Goodwill shopping.  Virtually everything I have comes from there, and I am the first to brag on my three-dollar deal.  Here’s the point–I have so much fun looking cute!  The other day, I designed a outfit starting with the shoes and working my way up to the earrings and the headband.  I got so many compliments that day, and none of them were provoked by the parts of my body that were exposed.  We don’t have to wear denim skirts and leave off the makeup; a little style is okay.  And so is a little modesty.

Modesty is not a punishment. It’s not God’s way of keeping us from having any fun. It’s actually a treasure to be able to choose who sees what parts of me. I think of Jesus hanging on the cross. He was stripped bare, and when I say bare, I mean completely. I cannot imagine the shame that was added to all the other physical torture He was enduring.  Because he was stripped, and because he was whipped, we don’t have to be.  [Tweet “Because he was stripped, and because he was whipped, we don’t have to be. “]  Our sins can be covered in the blood, and our bodies can be our temple. A temple of holiness.

Let me end by saying this, because I don’t want to be misunderstood: just dressing better doesn’t make us Christians. And it is hard for a single woman to give up focusing on what she feels like might help her get a husband, the appearance of her body.  But God works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. He will give us the want-to and the capability to save for our husbands what only they should see.  We must remember that it’s only the inner change, falling in love with Jesus, that can make us want to change on the outside.  So if you’re not a Christian, settle that with Jesus first.  If you are, but modesty is not a desire of yours, or if you’re struggling and lonely and feel that sex appeal is your only coping mechanism, pray about it.  Jesus loves us no matter how we look and no matter how we dress, and He is calling us all to a closer walk with Him.

What does this post speak to you?  I would love it if you’d leave a comment below.

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Are We There Yet? Worship in the Waiting

www.thebeaminmyeye.comI remember going on trips with my family as a little girl. I was always in the middle seat in the back, with one brother asleep on my lap and one on my shoulder. Even today, it’s hard for me to fall asleep when someone else is driving, in case my lack of vigilance is the cause of our plunging down a ravine. (Or maybe I’m just a control freak?)

Anyway, when you can’t sleep and have two people lying on you, all there is to do, besides play the alphabet billboard game with yourself, is wonder that quintessential childhood question: “Are we there yet?” Such a question drives every parent to drink (sweet tea) as the answer is clearly that if we were there, we would have already stopped. Obvious enough?

Not to a child, apparently.

Not to us adults either. God makes us so many promises, and He is always so faithful, but all we seem to want is the fulfillment of the next promise — and now. We ask our Heavenly Father the same question I used to ask my earthly one so many times: “Are we there yet?” And with that question, we show that doubt has taken root in our hearts.

I ask Him if we’re there yet on our finances. Our bills are paid, but that beautiful budget that my husband and I never seem to actually implement stares us in the face.

I ask Him if we’re there yet on this fix-Suzy’s-personality-thing. I remind Him that I called a whole blog “The Beam in My Eye” and have drawn attention to every flaw I can think of about myself, but yet, my issues are still there.

[Tweet “have drawn attention to every flaw I can think of about myself, but yet, my issues are still there.”]

I ask Him if we’re there yet on Dusty’s and my future. Kids or no kids? Leadership or no leadership? World change or television-channel-change? Is this it for us?

Like what you’ve read so far?  Check out the rest of this post on Beulah Girl.

Be blessed!

www.thebeaminmyeye.com

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The Road Less Traveled: How to Follow God’s Will

thebeaminmyeye.comI remember sitting in Adams Park in Kennesaw, Georgia, with my husband back when we were teenagers and telling him that I knew I would have a hard life. I knew that I would never have the white-picket-fence life or be the soccer mom, because God had another plan for me. Let me stop here and say that I am not criticizing those who do have a comfortable life — I just have always known I wouldn’t.

But that’s about where the life-plan clarity ended. None of the specifics of my life — having children, making ministry decisions, and seeking job direction — have seemed to follow such a defined path. They’ve been hard for sure, and yet I haven’t had that moment where the sky opens up and God gives me clarity on a specific issue.

In all of my recent seeking for the Lord’s will, I’ve come across two schools of thought about finding it. One of them, proposed in the book What Am I Supposed to Do with My Life? by Johnnie Moore, says that we should, when faced with two equally good decisions and no clear word from God, choose what we feel and trust that God will bless it. The other school of thought, which I find myself leaning toward, says that we should hear a clear direction from God before we act. I may not be quite as specific as Gideon was when he laid out the fleece before God in Judges 6, but I am still looking for big and small signs of God’s will in the world around me and wondering if each one is God’s divine voice of direction…

[Tweet “I am still looking for big and small signs of God’s will in the world around me and wondering if each one is God’s divine voice of direction.”]

Like what you’ve read so far?  Check out the rest of this post on Beulah Girl.

Be blessed!

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Walking a Meandering Road: How to Finish Well

thebeaminmyeye.comI often think about my own funeral. As morbid as that may be, I have the whole thing planned out. I want people to bawl their eyes out and dive in the casket. (A former student, LB, has already called that role.) I want the saddest songs played, and I want it to be standing room only, even if the people in the room had to be compelled to come.

I’m totally teasing about this funeral of course. My main desire is really that people give their hearts to Jesus there. Why? I want to leave a legacy that people will miss when I’m gone. I want to finish well. To accomplish this is to start in one direction that is God-ordained and to end up there, despite obstacles, with fruit to show for it.

That’s why it was so hard for me to leave my teaching job after eleven years. I left feeling like a failure. Two of my favorite movies are Mr. Holland’s Opus and Sister Act II, probably because the teachers in both persevere against seemingly-impossible odds. They affect their students beyond the sphere of the classroom and help them rise to meet school challenges as well.

In my class, on the other hand, I usually had the highest failure rate. Though I loved my students and prayed for them daily, I was told that I was “leading the league on parent complaints.” And though I always looked forward to the last day of school when I would sing “I Hope You Dance” (yes, it’s cheesy!) for each of my classes with tears, the behavior in one class last year was so bad that I couldn’t muster up the good will necessary to sing them my best wishes.

My whole teaching journey started, like that of so many others, with a desire to change the world, and it ended with what felt like escaping to another job instead. In my mind, I did not finish well…

Like what you’ve read so far?  Check out the rest of this post on Beulah Girl.

Be blessed!

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Truth Tuesday #3: Center of Attention, An Extrovert’s Blessing

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I often find myself in a state of metacognition, a time of thinking about my own thinking.

My dad and I were in a tea house last year (yes, I’m a con-artist to get my dad to go to tea!), and there was a party of ladies sitting near us. The whole time we were there, I noticed that one woman totally dominated the conversation. She sat in the middle of the table and chimed in her own perspective on every topic. I didn’t know the woman, but I couldn’t help but think how obnoxious she was in comparison to her friends. Maybe I felt that because I recognized myself in the middle of that circle.

She was me, and the vision of that time in the tea house has haunted my memory since then.

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I have no desire to be an introvert. I enjoy the fact that I can be bold. I like being the life of the party. I like being the center of attention. However, at the end of the day, I find myself replaying every word I’ve said and asking, “What crossed the line? What did people think of how I said that?” It’s not a cocky thing—it’s an insecure thing, an I-will-never-fit-in thing. Who would think that an extrovert who willingly draws so much attention to herself would regret most of the words she so carelessly tosses out? I wouldn’t believe it myself if I weren’t my own eyewitness…

Like what you’ve read so far?  Read the rest of this post on Beulah Girl.

Every Tuesday at 8:30 PM EST, join me for Truth Tuesday. Here’s the video where we discussed this post:

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Mother’s Heart, Empty Hands: A Devotional

 

I was recently published as part of a devotional book.  If you are struggling with infertility or know someone who is, I would recommend that you get the book.  In the meantime, here is my devotion.

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You know your struggle with infertility has lasted a long time when your husband starts to become emotional about it, as well. When we got married, my plan was to wait about three years to start a family. He definitely was not ready at that mark. However, had we known we would be ten years into marriage and still without children, we probably wouldn’t have balked at the baby gifts his mother insisted on buying from almost the time we tied the knot.

Just this week, as we left yet another gathering of younger friends who now all have children, my husband became unexpectedly emotional. He didn’t cry, but he expressed his opinion that he didn’t know how much longer he could sit on the sidelines of fatherhood and watch.

I can’t count how many tears I’ve cried over my struggle with childlessness. Feelings of loss flood me at the oddest times, and I become overwhelmed. It’s been said infertility is like grieving a death every month. I don’t know of a better way to express my feelings than to borrow that thought. Those with a mother’s heart and empty hands like mine are the only ones who could possibly know what that kind of grief feels like.

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Or, are they? God gets it, too, and I know He will truly take my overwhelmed heart, and, in the words of David, “lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” –Psalm 61:2

Sweet sisters, I don’t know where your journey toward motherhood will lead, whether to a house full of babies or to a lifetime of barrenness, but I do know God is in control of it all, and His plan is better than ours.

If I could give you one promise from His Word to hold onto, it would be this one from Psalm 27:13: I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

You will see His good promise, my sister, and you will see it here on earth, not just in heaven. Your husband will see it, too. Let’s not lose heart while we wait. Instead, let’s surround ourselves with community and witness God’s love together.

Be blessed!

www.thebeaminmyeye.com

Photo credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/caitlinator/3633244665 under Creative Commons license.

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How to Hide God’s Word in Your Heart: Setting Up a System and Free Printable Verse Cards

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Hello Friends!  For a long time now, I’ve felt convicted to do more scripture memorization.  I went out and bought a spiral index card notebook for just such a purpose, and when I came across a verse in my Bible study that I felt compelled to memorize, I would write it in my notebook.  The trouble with that is that I only wrote five cards.  Five. Ever.  And though I remembered them for a time, they aren’t hidden in my heart permanently.  In fact, I tore a few cards out of the book to write a grocery or Christmas card list.  Bad girl.  In reality, only the systems we use count, not the ones we set up and then abandon. [Tweet “In reality, only the systems we use count, not the ones we set up and then abandon. “]thebeaminmyeye.com

Anyway, that ineffective system started several years ago, and I have no fruit to show for it.  So what’s my new plan?  You are going to love it.  I have stolen borrowed it from Simply Charlotte Mason, but what I want to show you is how to set up the system with practical advice.  I spent about an hour preparing my first set of scriptures, and after painstakingly hand-writing my own, I thought I’d make you a gorgeous, printable set, which is your freebie for following the directions at the bottom of this post.

I am not going to explain how to set up and use the system in this post, because Charlotte Mason has a dynamic video about that, which I have embedded below.  Please watch that video before deciding if you want to go any further with this system.  You need to use a system that works for you and your family.  That’s another thing.  I love how Ms. Mason has the whole family memorizing scripture together.  If you are on a solo journey to holiness, get off the trail and enlist some friends.  [Tweet “If you are on a solo journey to holiness, get off the trail and enlist some friends.”] I want to take as many people to Heaven with me as I can, don’t you?  And to do that, I want to be a discipler, which could start with leading others through scripture memory.

Okay, so you’ve watched the video, right?  Here’s what I’ve done to make the system practical for me:

 

Create your file box.   

Let me go ahead and tell you that neither Target nor Dollar Tree has an index card file box…aren’t you glad I just saved you that time?  I got mine at Walmart.

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I bought two packs of different-colored neon index cards.  Actually, I had them already, and I thought they would work great for this system.  I used pink for the section dividers and green for the cards where I would write the scriptures.  If you follow the directions at the bottom of this post, you won’t need a second color of cards, because I will give you the link to my printable ones!

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Then, I used these Post-It Flags to label the sections and wrote on each flag with Sharpie.  I had my flags already in six colors, but you don’t need six.  I am just a weirdo like that who likes a colorful pattern:)  They sell them at Walmart, so there’s no need to order from the link.  I just wanted you to see what they looked like.

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That’s it!  I’ve already started memorizing my one scripture in the daily section, and it takes just five to ten minutes daily to work this system; you’ll not only be hiding new scriptures in your heart but also constantly reviewing the ones that are already there.

Let me say that memorizing Scripture is not what will take us to Heaven or earn salvation for us.  However, what we constantly expose ourselves to will come out in our words and actions.  I’d say that’s a pretty good reason to memorize!

Ready to join me on this journey of hiding God’s word in our hearts?  Do at least one of the following to get a link to my first set of twenty printable verse cards:

I can’t wait to share the cards with you, but more importantly, I can’t wait to see you start to hide God’s word in your heart!  Want to read more about practical faith?  Check out these posts.

Be blessed!

www.thebeaminmyeye.com