The Call to Love

A note to the reader:

I published this post on November 13, 2016. At that time, our country was divided over the Presidential selections. Now, 4 years later, we are in the same condition. Divided.

Thank you for reading. – Misty

martinlutherkingjrquote

The last two days I have been glancing at my computer and trying to ignore the nudge of writing on my blog. I usually use this as an outlet for my feelings, circumstances, frustrations, basically a journal of my life. So, it is curious as to why I could not bring myself to the keyboard.

This week has been a rough one in my country. I have found it so incredibly difficult to put into words how I am feeling, my fears, and my hopes. It almost seems impossible to express anything on social media, despite the best intentions, without having the wolves come at you. Honestly, I’m typing this now without a clue as to the title and after sending up a prayer for the Lord’s guidance in what I type and that it may glorify Him.

The scripture read today at church came from Luke 6:35-38:

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”(emphasis added)

My pastor spoke about the current protests going on in our country, as well as, the fear among our fellow neighbors. How even, in the small farming community I live, there are families who have sought out our church to see if we could be a safe haven for them. They are scared.

The above scripture is a call to Christians; but it goes even beyond that. Although, I am a Christian and believe Jesus is my Lord and Savior, I know there are those out there who do not have my belief system. I know some of these people personally, they are my friends and family, and I love them very much. They also, are great, loving and compassionate people.

I believe it is a call to humanity to love your enemies, lend and give to them without expecting any thing in return. We all should be merciful. We should not judge or condemn and we all need to forgive. 

The rhetoric between Americans, on both sides, is deplorable. The protests that are anything but peaceful, are wrong. The name calling of ‘cry babies’ and telling those who are legitimately hurting to ‘suck it up’, is wrong. The continued sharing of memes disrespecting our current president and our president-elect is wrong. The list can go on and on and on. Not one of these behaviors glorify our Lord. Not one of these behaviors show people God’s love.

It doesn’t matter who you supported and your reasons behind it. It doesn’t matter who won or who didn’t win. Why? Because NOONE can control how you respond to someone else, except you. Your behaviors, actions, words, and responses only speak to your own character and where your heart lies. 

I pray for healing for our nation. I pray for the hateful words to cease and be replaced by words of encouragement and love. I pray that we stop pointing fingers and casting out judgments and instead start opening our minds, hearts, and arms to people in our communities.

I am going to end with extending the earlier scripture and using The Message version. This is Luke 6: 27-38:

“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. 
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing.
Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
By His grace,
Misty

Parenting Through Divorce

Divorce is hard and messy. A couple that loved each other very much at one time can turn into two ugly monsters that border the line of disdain and even hate. Add children to that recipe and that monster will eventually infect them. It will cause confusion, hurt, anger, depression, doubt, and will shape who they become.

I have experience in both of these areas. I come from a divorced family, and I am currently going through a divorce myself. Our two boys have had to walk through a life that has been turned upside down. It was a struggle at first. Bitterness, resentment, disrespect, rage… it was all consuming early on in my separation, and it greatly affected our children. But, somehow, the tides started to change.

We started putting our own feelings aside and instead put our boys feelings first. We began to co-parent effectively and respectfully. Our boys were able to see that even though their parents were no longer together, they still loved them very much and would do whatever it took to still be a united front for them. Was it easy? Absolutely not. It definitely took some trial and error, grace, and lots of forgiveness. Is it still perfect? No, and it may never be. However, that doesn’t stop us from trying every day to do what is in the best interest of our boys together.

Some of you may have had a similar experience, but I also know some of you have not. So, I want to share some wisdom and advice. I’m not a psychologist by any means, but I am a mom working through navigating my children through this trial and have witnessed the other side of when parents are toxic toward one another. So lets begin..

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing.

Psalm 127:3 (GNB)

Children are a gift from the Lord. Think back to the day where you first held your child in your arms. The feeling of unconditional love that washed over you, and the vow that you would let nothing ever harm him or her as long as you lived. Do you remember that special day?

Now ask yourself… are you protecting your children from harm if you and your ex are constantly at battle? That may be a difficult truth to swallow. You might be even trying to justify your reasons right now as you read this, but I ask you to really stop and ponder this question.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 12:15 (ESV)

If your goal is to always be right then you will never get anywhere with your communication. You will be too busy planning your next move and not enough time listening. This style of communication is a perfect storm for reasoning and compromise to go straight out the door. My advice is to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry ( James 1:19). Make sure your intention is coming from the right place and not your own selfish ego or your desire to hurt the other person.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (GNB)

Leave the past in the past because it can not be changed. I found that alot of the bitterness and anger I had was from the past hurts from my marriage itself. Words were shared that literally cut to my very core and I was also guilty of it too. My tongue was sharp, and I have significant remorse for it. It is difficult to swallow your pride and to stop pointing fingers. It is difficult to put someone else’s needs before your own especially someone that you haven’t forgiven. Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us that we are to forgive. We are to get rid of all those ugly feelings towards the other person and make the choice to be kind and sensitive to them. We must be willing to forgive and remember that we all have sinned, are far from perfect, and yet, He forgives us.

The above pictures were taken at our son’s birthday. We all were together. We all took pictures together. This is what’s best for children. This is how children continue to thrive.

Stop the hate, stop the battles, stop the revenge. Forgive one another and parent together your precious children.

If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen.

1 John 4:20

Messy blessings,

Misty