Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January 5th, 2015

Loving, With Grace

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

 

I shared previously in God’s Timing Has No Expiration Date that God doesn’t condemn, He convicts. The difference in those two words is very important. Condemnation leaves a person feeling guilty, like a failure. Conviction inspires a person to work at a specific task with the goal of improving oneself. The closer I grow in my relationship to God, the more He convicts me in certain areas, even areas where I thought I was doing well, but He knows I could do better.

I spoke last time in One More Perspective on Grace about how God used my situation with my friend to open my eyes to how I was treating one of my children and a different approach I could use to allow this child to feel loved instead of judged. Once God opened my eyes to what I was doing and began helping me change my approach, He knew I needed to go one step further and He loved my children, and me, enough to help me get there.

A few weeks ago I began a fast for my friend. I wanted to fast for complete healing for this person and so chose to give God certain foods for a one-week period. While I think that pleased God, the first day of the fast I specifically heard Him say, “Fast yelling.”

 DSCN3467

While I should have replied, “Okay,” instead it went something like this. “What did You say, Lord? Fast what? I thought fasting was giving up my favorite foods.”

My Father doesn’t use a lot of words to get His point across and I distinctly heard, “Fast yelling.” No arguing, no being drawn into my debate (I could learn a lot from His example) – just two simple words, spoken with love. “Fast yelling.”

My first response to His command was shame. I was ashamed that God was calling me out in an area that I thought I was doing well in, but obviously wasn’t. Then I felt guilty. I was supposed to be perfect, right? Oh wait, God said He doesn’t expect perfection, just a willing heart. Then I just ended up feeling grateful. Grateful it wasn’t too late to change, and grateful that God loves me and my family so much He knew this wasn’t the environment I wanted to raise a family in.

I’ve always stated that it’s the woman’s job to create the atmosphere in the house and God showed me quickly that while I used to be fairly good at creating a loving environment, I needed to get back on track. When I asked Him what He wanted me to do to accomplish that goal, this time I was rewarded with three simple words, “Just love them.” While I do love my kids fiercely, I had allowed myself to get back into the assembly line mentality of checking things off my list that needed to be done without appreciating the little moments I had with each of my very individual, very different gifts from God.

I would love to say I passed the “fasting from yelling test” with flying colors. Nope. I failed miserably – or did I? While I messed up many times that week, I’m still working on “fasting yelling.” I am listening for the Holy Spirit’s convictions when I start to get too strict. I stop myself in the middle of a sentence to start over again with a more loving response when I find sarcasm creeping into my speech. I try to look for ways I can joke around with my kids, getting the same message across but using an approach that is less demanding and more encouraging. I also find that I step in and help them more rather than barking orders like a drill sergeant. I try to treat them the way I would want to be treated – the way the Holy Spirit wants me to treat them.

I’m so grateful to serve God, who was the first example of what a Father should be. I’m also glad He loves me enough to convict me, with grace, so my kids get the best earthly example they can before raising a family of their own.

© Cheri Swalwell 2014

 

 

 

Read Full Post »