Seeing Through Holy Eyes

Continued from here.

One might assume that as I have grown holier in particular areas of my life, I must now be judgmental of those who are not. The opposite has actually turned out to be true. For example, when I hear women talking about how unhappy they are in their marriages, I feel sad because I can see how their complaints are a reflection of areas of unholiness in their marriage, and I know how painful that is. I also know that they must first be ready to begin working the holiness planted inside of them to move it to the outside so it bears fruit, and only God knows when they are ready. If I try to tell them how to live their lives in judgment, my words will be counterproductive.

I find myself engaging in more prayer for those around me who are struggling in areas where I once struggled. When I sense the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I’ll share my own story. Only if they ask to do make any suggestions. As an example, when people complain to me about their marriages and I sense the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I’ll share my story, which includes how God used Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick’s The Love Dare to help heal my marriage, and if they seem interested, I’ll offer to buy a copy of the book for them. It’s up to them whether or not to read or work through the book, just as it was up to me when I was in a similar place.

True holiness is the opposite of judgment. It enables you to see clearly enough to see the speck in someone’s eye because you have already removed the plank out of yours. And because you know how painful it was to remove the plank, you feel tenderness, compassion, and empathy for the one with a splinter.

[Graphic: Cover of The Love Dare. Courtesy Amazon.]

Stop Seeking the World’s Peace

A friend bought me the book Daily Wisdom for Women 2017 Devotional Collection, and I have been working through it each morning during my quiet time. I was blown away by this quote from Sunday, June 25, which was written by Jennifer Vander Klipp:

When we pray during life’s storms, we tend to think God is going to make things the way we want them, with ease, comfort, lack of conflict, and prosperity. But those things are not the things that draw us closer to Him and grow our faith. He promises never to leave us and to give us His peace, not the world’s peace. His ways are different from ours…

The end of that quote is what hit me hard – For all of these years, I have been asking for God to give me the world’s peace! I never thought of it in those terms, but it’s true. I want a life that’s easy, comfortable, and problem-free, which is the world’s definition of peace. Anyone with or without a faith finds it peaceful to be in a state of external comfort. That’s why we love vacations, spas, etc. These are slivers of time in which our problems are temporarily removed as we focus on our own comfort. However, God’s peace is internal, not external, and is completely independent of our circumstances.

And the next thought about God’s ways being different from ours drove home the point that I need to learn: I need to stop praying for God to give me what the world offers and start receiving what God has already provided. I already have access to God’s peace 24/7 because I always have access to GOD! He IS peace. But I haven’t been looking to God for peace in the form He offers. I have been asking Him to remove X, Y, and Z from my life to give me the World’s comfort instead of opening my spirit to receive God’s peace, which works even if X, Y, & Z get worse instead of better.

God, forgive me for seeking the World’s peace instead of You. Help me follow Your ways instead of the World’s ways and receive the glorious blessing of Your peace, which has been available to me all along. Turn my eyes off my external circumstances and back onto You where they belong. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cover of Daily Wisdom for Women 2017 Devotional Collection]. Courtesy Amazon.

Recovery Testimony: Infertility

sadContinued from here.

Little did I know that life’s next storm was already brewing. I had only returned to God for a few months when I learned that I was infertile. For someone so determined to be in charge of my own life, this news was absolutely devastating. Even the Bible validates the depth of the struggle with infertility:

There are three things that are never satisfied,
four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
the grave, the barren womb,
land, which is never satisfied with water,
and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’” ~ Prov. 30:15-16

Note that infertility is the only human experience recorded in this passage. If you have never walked the path of infertility or walked alongside someone dealing with it, you might not be able to fully appreciate the devastation, particularly for couples who are “control freaks.”

I had a choice to make – Was I going to walk away from God again? Or would I go through this with Him? I decided that grieving the loss of my father without God had not worked out very well, so I would go through the infertility process with God, even though I didn’t understand why He allowed this in my life.

Interestingly, I never perceived my infertility as being a punishment for walking away from God, just as I never perceived my father’s sudden death as being a punishment for anything. My struggle was about why God allowed these things to happen, but I never blamed Him for causing them.

Fast forward 4.5 years … I was sobbing as I drove to work. After years of infertility treatments and surgeries, we went through the process to adopt a child, and we had been waiting over 1.5 years to be matched with a birthmother. My friends’ children were already in kindergarten, and I felt every day of those 4.5 years as my arms remained empty on Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc. I asked God when would I ever be a mother, and I felt this in my Spirit: “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” And a peace washed over me that I could not explain. For the next week, when my thoughts turned to this area of my life, I would sense that again and be washed over with peace.

One week later, we received the call that a birthmother had chosen us to adopt her son. She selected us on the very day that God gave me that message, but the agency waited a week to tell us to make sure she was certain we were the right family. That baby is now my 16 years old son, and he was worth the wait.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace crying one big tear. Courtesy Bitmoji.]