Friday, February 17, 2006

Struggling to Practice What I Preach

I contemplated making this a Private Post. Instead, I am asking those who read my journal and know Alan and Melanie personally, to keep this to yourselves. I needed to get this out, but I don't want it getting back to anyone. Thank you for the confidence.

I wrote the last entry earlier this afternoon, but just got a chance to post. Now, I'm having trouble taking my own advice. I struggle with forgiveness and I know it's a daily choice to forgive certain people who have wounded me deeply. Today, especially this evening, I am struggling. A couple days ago, I was talking to my friends mom (she lost her brother and her husband within 12 hours of each other, 2 days before Christmas). After we talked about how she was feeling, I could relate to some of it so she asked me about my ex husband and what happened in our relationship. After I gave her the story, she said that if her husband had ever been unfaithful to her, she would not be able to forgive him - she'd hate him and the girl he was with. I always try to speak kindly of my ex and his new wife (I do have my moments when I need to vent, but I won't drag their names through the mud) and apparently I had said something kind about them. She was astonished and made a comment that I must be a stronger woman than she if I could really forgive them and not harbor any ill will toward them. Don't worry, I didn't let her go on believing I was perfect. I told her it's a daily decision that I make - to forgive and to pray for them. Anyway, she had said that my ex was unlovable - so I thought it interesting that my calendar had that daily quote today. But the fact is, I do love him and forgive him and in all sincerity, I want only good things for him.

Today, my ex-in-laws (ex-laws?) called me. It was the first time I had talked to them since Thanksgiving. We never go more than a month without talking so I knew something was up. Well, it turns out they have been in communication with their son and his wife. More with Melanie than Alan, but that isn't really surprising. Anyways,they said they felt like maybe they should back off with me to allow their relationship with their new daughter-in-law to grow. They are walking on eggshells because Alan hasn't talked to them hardly at all in the last 2 years. The door to communicate is just starting to open and they are afraid that if A&M find out that they are still close to me, that will hinder their relationship and they won't talk to them. With a new grandson on the way, my ex-laws are excited, yet cautious and want more than anything to be a part of his life. First, I want to say that this is an answer to prayer. I am so glad that Alan is talking to his parents, at least a little bit and I respect Melanie for trying to bridge the gap and being willing to allow them into her life. I've been praying that for almost 2 years now. I understand that my ex-laws probably feel torn to some degree. They do still love me, but their loyalties should be with their son and his family.

I would be lying if I said that I was 100% happy about all of this. They are developing a relationship with someone that I still have to CHOOSE to forgive EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. I am being replaced - again. I was replaced as a lover, a wife, a best friend and now as a daughter. I am jealous. I am sad. I am afraid that they will continue to distance themselves from me and I will lose a family that I love as my own. I would understand if they did, but I have gotten used to having them all to myself the last 2 years. They have supported me and loved me and prayed for me just as they always did when I was married to their son. I feel awkward now. I feel so sad. Maybe Brandon was right when he told me that it was unhealthy to keep them in my life for so long and to lean on them. Because now, I am experiencing feelings of loss and rejection all over again.

I am happy that they are communicating now - this truly is an answer to my prayers. But I hurt inside. I don't want to care. I want to feel numb.
"Love means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all;
Forgiving means to pardon that which is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all –
And to Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all."
~G.K. Chesterton

My thoughts:

The first thing is to identify who is considered "unlovable." Is it the murderer rotting away in prison? The person who molested you or your little sister or daughter? The unfaithful spouse? The drunks and druggies sitting homeless on the street? A family member that hurt you? The manipulative, negative coworker sitting in the cubicle next to you? It's easy to say, "Oh, I love everyone, there is no one that I hate." Where is the proof? When I see a homeless man on the street, holding up his cardboard sign begging for money, or passed out drunk in his own urine on the sidewalk, it is easy to turn up my nose and judge him. I often catch myself thinking, "Why doesn't he get off his ass and get a job? McDonald's is always hiring." And maybe I'm right, maybe that person should do something, but I am not responsible for his actions. I am responsible for my own. How can I show him love? Love is not earned. It is a GIFT. When we love someone, we expect absolutely NOTHING in return. That being said, it is easy to love those who love us and are kind to us. Even the most evil people do that.

This reminds me of the scripture where the Lord is praising the righteous for seeing him hungry and feeding him, etc. "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' " Matthew 25:37-40

If you've done something to the least of these… you've done it to Christ. What a powerful concept. I need to remember that every moment of every day, in every dealings I have with people.

Forgiving: What is unpardonable? Infidelity? Molestation? Rape? Abuse? Murder? Is one sin greater than another? Are we not called to forgive 70 times 7? If all sins are equal and we are sinning in our unforgiveness, are we not just as bad as the person we refuse to forgive? In forgiving others, we find freedom. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:2

I need to remember to take the plank out of my own eye - to deal with the sins in my own life before judging someone else for their choices.

Hope: When do things seem hopeless? Usually, when you are right in the middle of it. Given enough time, we are able to look back at a seemingly hopeless situation and see in hindsight that there was hope all along. Is your loved one dying of a terminal illness where there is no hope of recovery? Don't lose hope. Miracles still occur. When we hope for something and are disappointed, it seems to make us lose hope more easily in other situations.

Monday, February 6, 2006


Lamentations 3:19-26:
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.


I got this email the other day and it spoke to my heart. It is my desire to be a reflection of the image of Christ, my Father. Though the refining is painful, it's worth it.

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a Refiner and Purifier of silver." This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it" If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you. And, whatever you're going through, you'll be a better person in the end. Remember, if God brings you to it -- He will bring you through it.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

My Prayer

The song is my prayer. "I want to sign your name to the end of this day..." Wow! If I could live my life in such a way, that I could get God's signature, his stamp of approval on each day that I live, how amazing would that be?! Powerful! My life is meaningless - a chasing after the wind - such a small sacrifice... So why is it so hard for me to surrender it to Christ - to the one who created me and who knows what is best for me and has a purpose and plan for my future?

"Lifesong" (Casting Crowns)

Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You

Lord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be Your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You