Thursday, January 10, 2013

How Do I Respond?

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and the bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11

Okay, let me get real. Let me be as transparent as I possibly can. My words do not always give glory to God. Oh, so often my words bring Him shame. But I'm learning, God doesn't leave anything empty. Even when I seem to use words that don't bring glory. He brings a lesson to my heart. He can take my biggest failures and my smallest triumphs and turn them into something of glory.

I wake reading my devotional or Bible and I repeat God's Word over again and let it soak in. I step out of bed and see the sunshine through the clouds. I ponder His Word. I watch the beautiful birds at my feeder  and then I see the sink filled with dishes. My mother calls to complain. I see an email that makes me mad as a hornet. I see mud tracked through the hallway. I see dirty clothes laying scattered in places that should be void of these smelly socks. Sound like your morning? I get so off track. But isn't that what Satan's goal is? Can you imagine him as we have the Word of God open before us? He is pondering and scheming every which way possible to get our mind off of what we just gave praise for and we are now yelling at the kids, mumbling under our breath at our husband and about ready to kick the dog over the poo we just about stepped in.

I think of the first responders. They are first on the scene. They act. They move. They are there to protect and to serve. They don't stop until the job is done and they don't even think of it as a job, but their duty, their life. They simply just do it. They are there to bring calm. They add salve to fear and remind people, "It's going to be okay". They make people feel safe and guarded. I ponder how I am as a first responder. How do I react when I hear that juicy gossip about the grocer and his wife? Do I respond as I should or do I listen in and think, "Oh my, how in the world could they do that", and then share with the next person to call me? How do I respond when my son has made a mistake and it's not the first time? Do I speak with grace and talk calmly? Of course I do. Um...no I don't. At least not always. I slam my fist and I yell. I repeat words that makes me think of the times I make mistakes and go to my Savior. He doesn't yell at me. He accepts me. He shows me grace and He covers me in His mercy.

I pray. I walk with the Lord. I soar in excitement as I read His Word. I think, "Today is a new day and I'm not going to have a bad attitude". All is well for about four hours and then I'm driving and a car whizzes out and cuts me off and I'm now yelling at my window, telling the person who is now three miles up ahead how she can't drive. Where in the world does that come from? Satan.

As a Christian I know that one day as I stand before the Lord I am going to be accountable for every word that has come from my lips. This breaks my heart. I too know that I fall short. Here's the thing. My heart is with the Lord and it's okay. He knows I'm going to make a mess of things. He knows I'm going to shoot from my mouth as if I'm firing bullets. He too knows that I am going to come to Him humble and broken over my choices. It's part of having a relationship with the Lord. I come to Him with the ugly and He has a way of creating beauty from my mess.

Our words hold power. Yes, we say our actions speak louder than words and in many aspects that is true, but words hold such power. Hurtful words can bring a person to their knees. They can shatter our heart. Words are meant to uplift and inspire. But boy, we use our words and think of them after they are already out.

The thing is, I just need to remain in God's Word. When I mess up I feel like I've let Him down and I go for days without picking up His Word. That's the wrong attitude. The more life comes at me the more I need His Word to saturate my heart. He is big enough to handle anything in my life. Yes, even my attitude.

What I love is that my Lord can change my attitude just by me saying one word. Jesus. I speak His name and He washes over me. A devotional is a great tool to carry with you. We can get to His Word using our smart phones now. Friends, there is no excuse for not taping into all He has. We need His reminders throughout the day. His power can overcome anything we are going through in our day. He sees that laundry before us and you know, He can take that attitude of, "Are you kidding me? The hamper was empty yesterday after I did five loads", to "Wow, I am so thankful I have a hamper filled with awesome clothes and a family that fills it daily".

It's about our perspective. I know. I am just as real as you. I'm in that grocery line too. I have people say things to me that just fire me up. I see things that are just not right and I want to open my mouth and just..well, you know, right? We can be God Responders. We can come into that moment and take a minute to access the situation without assuming and without anger. My self control isn't my greatest asset. In fact, it's one that I need to work on. Praise the Lord, I am a work in progress. The Lord knows my needs and He is quick to teach me. He humbles me on a daily basis. I stand back and think, "Did I really just say that?" But see, the Lord is quick to take my confessed sins and remove them, never to be brought up again. He isn't a score keeper. We are the ones who tend to do that not so fun game.

I don't always respond like I should. Often instead of grace there is anger. Instead of understanding there is a restless why. I complain and murmur. I get hurt and want to attack back. Maybe not so much attack, but just defend and for me, turns into attack. But I have to remind myself that Satan not only attacks us from those we don't know, but even more so by those who are closest to us. He uses every tool possible and he knows our weakest points. He is so aware of our heart and where we are at the moment. Ah, but no matter Satan's tactics, Jesus has the victory!

Don't beat yourself up when you falter. It's going to happen. Take time to forgive yourself and yes, give yourself room to make mistakes. It's a life learning tool. It's one the Lord knows how to use to bring ash to beauty.

When the kids are on your last nerve and your ready to shout from the roof tops, step back and remember there is One who can bring peace to your heart. When you have written a post and worked hard to get it ready and it disappears and you want to slam your fist into the computer, remember. There is One who can wrap you in calm. I told you I was going to be honest. Honest is sometimes ugly. But it's real and it's raw and it helps us know that we aren't alone.

We can be God Responders. We just have to remain in Him and saturate our lives with His Word. Measure all we do with His Word. Don't worry about those who want to attack us or fail to encourage us. We carry such hurts and if we aren't careful angry words can spew from the deepest corners of our hurts that have been buried for years. Believe me, I know.

Friends, let it go today. Forgive yourself and let the Lord forgive you. Our lives can be loud and ugly at times, but they too hold beauty and they have a way of shimmering God's unmeasurable love. He is the spot light. We are the keepers of the light. When we mess up, He isn't leaving us. He isn't leaving us. Remind yourself when you have messed up, "I am a child of the King of kings, Lord of lords. There is nothing Satan has on me and nothing this world can attack me with that my Lord cannot handle." Keep going, my friend. Don't give up just because you've had a bad day or a bad moment. Character is created through a life time of lessons.

Lord, help me to be a God Responder. Help me to be patient and kind. May I turn to You when I'm ready to burst and ask for Your strength and peace. Wash over me today, Lord. I thank You for always being near and for accepting me just the way I am. Broken and misplaced in a world that seems so backward. May my words bring You glory and may they lift others up and never cause another to stumble. May I take these life lessons, these messes I create and give You room to use them to create in me a humble girl on fire for Christ, continuing in the mission to share Your love with all.
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