My Heart's Home

June 25, 2011

Choose Virtue Over Vice

Filed under: faithfulness,Grace,Love — My Heart's Home @ 3:25 pm

Life is all about choices. We make a plethora of decisions daily without a second thought. Most are auto-piloted, robotic and routine. We don’t deliberate over the mundane. Most of our decisions are made unbridled, with loose reigns, and without reserve. Sometimes it’s beneficial to ‘be slow to speak’ as the Bible says or we may go about our days with our toxic tongue’s tail wagging behind us.

Or we may be caught with that tail between our legs.

Either way we’re bound to trip.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19

Ever been around someone who can’t control their tongue or wrath? They spew toxic venom whenever they open their mouth and are quick to raise fists and pummel anyone who stands in their way? A raised hand raised me, so I know how it feels firsthand. I had welts upon my body from the belt they beat against my alabaster skin. One too many times. It was not a pretty picture. I choose to forgive today because I don’t want their bitterness to rub off on me. I don’t want to scar my precious son by carrying around wounds that have never healed. He and my husband deserve all of me, 100 percent, WHOLE and I intend to give it to them.

No matter what the cost.

Several years ago I ordered a free bracelet. It was designed as a tool for people to monitor their success at eradicating complaining from their lives. The goal is to wear the purple band on one wrist and try to go 21 consecutive days complaint-free. If you find yourself griping, you switch wrists and start over. The Founder, Rev. Will Bowen, thought of the bracelet in 2006 to help make the world a better place. His idea exploded and more than 6 million purple Complaint Free bracelets have been sent to people in over 106 countries.

Fast forward five years and I’m still waiting for my free bracelet to arrive.

My question is:

Should I complain? 

I considered it; however, the organization probably doesn’t have a complaint department, so what’s the use.

Instead, I decided to wear my own bracelet, not purple, but 24-karat gold. And for the next 21 days I will refrain from complaining. I will choose virtue over vice. (Please add me to your prayer requests!) Especially on Sunday. Sometimes our sinful nature rears its ugly head when we least expect it…as we’re approaching or circling church parking lots:

‘Why is that person going so S-L-O-W?’

‘Why aren’t they signaling?’

‘Whoa! Did I just run over the pastor?’

I will pray God transforms my heart as he conforms my mind. Every time my brain is tempted to poison my tongue with venom, either about myself or someone else, I will choose to hold that thought captive and replace it with words that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. 

One day this filtering may become second nature and I won’t give complaints and criticisms a second thought.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

I don’t know if I can change the entire world, but at least I will impact my immediate world.

And that’s the best place to start: in my own backyard.

*I wrote this post before attending church Sunday and guess what my pastor challenged the congregation to do? Memorize Phil. 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” 

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“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…” Phil. 2:14-16

A Complaint Free World People complain to everyone except the person who can resolve their issue and then can’t understand why the situation doesn’t improve.

A Complaint Free World Complaining can be thinly disguised bragging. People complain about others to subtly say, “See? I don’t have their character flaws.”
A Complaint Free World When you complain, you take your fears and give them form.

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June 19, 2011

Daddy’s #1

Filed under: Faith,Love,Parenting,Thankfulness — My Heart's Home @ 1:51 am

June 19th being Father’s Day, I asked our six-year-old son what he loves most about his Daddy:

#1) He plays with me.

#2) He likes me.

#3) He never hates me.

#4) He’s in my heart.

#5) He’s nice.

#6) He plays games with me.

#7) He gets excited when I win ‘Minute to Win It’ challenges.

#8) He watches my TV shows and relaxes with me.

#9) He kisses and hugs me.

#10) He tells me jokes to make me laugh a lot.

I interpreted his answers to mean Austin feels: ‘Daddy’s my friend; he’s my encourager; he unconditionally loves me; I cherish him; he enjoys my company; he spends time with me; he gives me attention; he’s affectionate; and he’s funny.’

What Bob gives our son cannot be bought or sold in a store.

It’s his heart, which is priceless.

That’s the Number One reason I love Austin’s Daddy.

~ Happy Father’s Day! ~

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“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a Father’s protection.” – Sigmund Freud

“Any man can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” – Anne Geddes

“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into Fathers – and fathering is a very important stage in their development.” – David M. Gottesman

“The greatest thing a Father can do to his children, is to love their mother.” – Anjaneth Garcia Untalen

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”  – Pope John XXIII

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.”

June 11, 2011

Do Small Things With Great Love

Filed under: Encouragement,Faith,Freedom,Healing — My Heart's Home @ 7:23 pm

“What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”  ~ Mother Teresa 

Sometimes I feel miniscule. I am swallowed up by this big ol’ world, rejected and spit from its mouth like a worthless watermelon seed. No matter how hard I try, some individuals always pronounce me guilty. I feel like a puzzle piece trying to squeeze myself perfectly into that empty spot, but I’m constantly rejected. My edges are bruised, frayed and torn as a result. I never fit. I’m the wrong piece, wrong color, wrong shape.

I’m tired of trying to fit in.

Besides, it’s not my job to fill someone’s empty places. I can’t fix what is broken. I can’t mend what’s frayed. Only God can. It’s His job, not mine. 

When others cut deep with their words because I choose to stop playing God, I remind myself: I don’t belong to this world. This is not my home. I am only a tourist, passing through. The Judge (Jesus) , The Ringleader (Holy Spirit/Comforter) and Master Gardener (G0d) are my guides. It is these Three whom I serve and pledge my allegiance. I cannot place anyone above God in my life and I cannot try to be anyone’s God. That’s a burden too heavy to carry, so I must walk away and leave my stethoscope, defibrillator and bandages behind. The rejection comes and stabs its blades deep into my heart. I bleed, but the Master Healer is nearby, so I will learn to breathe again. I may feel battered, broken, and bruised, but as long as I continue to kneel at the foot of the cross, I will always find my way and never get lost. This heart will heal and I trust it in His hands. In this dark, cold and foreign land, The Judge, Ringleader and Master Gardener are my lamp, my shelter and my compass. I am never alone, abandoned or forgotten as long as these Three abide in me. My orphaned heart has found its home.

The Judge lowers His gavel: innocent of all charges.

The Ringleader shouts I belong under His Big Top.

My seeds always bear fruit in the Master Gardener’s hands.

I don’t need to prove my worthiness; He already did. I am worthy because He says I am. I am His child. His precious daughter. I am adopted into His family. I have been given a new name, Hephzibah: “My delight is in her.” I am spotless, forgiven, cleansed, pure, holy and accepted.

Just as I am.

Always.

I don’t need the world to confirm it.

That’s FREEDOM!

I am only one, but I can make a difference…because of The One within me.

Dear children, you belong to God. So you have won the victory over these people, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

Out of His abundant love my spirit overflows:

to do small things with great love.

Like bringing flowers to a stranger who tragically lost her husband.

Like buying a brand-spanking-new bike for a neglected 10-year-old boy who’s never had one.

Like making this painting for my elderly and childless Catholic neighbor who loves on my son.

The closer I grow to God the more I begin to:

…pray for my enemies.

…refuse to let seeds of bitterness take root.

…choose to extend grace.

I want to view the world through His eyes, reach out to others with His hands and touch others with His heart. Not because I need their approval and acceptance, but because I already am approved and accepted by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I want the recipient to feel His redemption and grace, as well. I want them to feel better about the One who sent me. I want others to see Jesus in me. I want to be His eyes, His hands, His feet.

Because only I can do what God has called me to do.

And His is the only voice I will heed. All others are mute.

In His eyes I’m the perfect piece, perfect color, perfect shape.

For His perfect plan.

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” – 2 Chronicles 16:9

“He told them: The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” – Luke 10:2

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ… The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” 1 Corinthians 12:12 & 21-23



June 4, 2011

Let Them Be Little

Filed under: Humor,Parenting — My Heart's Home @ 2:16 am

Today my son reached a milestone. Not the first and won’t be the last. But it was exciting nonetheless.

He graduated kindergarten (sniff sniff.)

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t one of those blubbering moms, frantic for my tissue, passing it covertly to other weepers wearing high heels, painted toenails and mascara streaks. No, not me! Never. I’m not one of those moms.

At least I wasn’t until they played that darn video. And that darn song. The kind my mind heeds a warning as soon as that heart-tugging music starts: don’t-listen-to-the-lyrics-or-waterworks-will-spurt! But it was too late. The words tempted and seduced the wordsmith in me and before I knew it she was sucked into the lyrics like dust through a vacuum. The song was Let Them Be Little and it didn’t waste any time plucking my heartstrings.

What made matters worse was that darn video was chockfull of candid Kodak moments. Kindergartners: smiling toothless grins; hanging upside down from monkey bars; sitting cross-legged on chalk-covered concrete; waving blue painted handprints; eating icing-all-over-chin cupcakes; holding newborn chicks, Easter baskets, slimy toads and each others’ hands (sniff, sniff)–a year’s worth of documented memories of my little boy’s kindergarten experience–as that darn song played!

Let Them Be Little.

I was ambushed, I tell you!

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute
How it amazes me, you’re changing with every blink
Faster than a flower blooms, they grow up all too soon

So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

I’ve never felt so much in one little tender touch
I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes
Now that you’re teaching me things only a child can see
Every night while we’re on our knees all I ask is please

Let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around
It’s time to let them go

So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

Let them be little.

Ok, so I’m one of those moms. But you better not tell anybody.

I’ll just deny it.

(I don’t have the actual video, but here’s one from YouTube that plays the song. Grab the Kleenex:)

Here’s my little boy when he was three:

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