Forgiveness is difficult. This is especially true if the person you need to forgive isn’t sorry.
Everyone has someone in their lives that they need to forgive, whether it’s for something small or something really big. For me, forgiveness is a struggle for sure.
Some people don’t understand forgiveness, or misuse the very concept for their own benefit. Forgiveness doesn’t mean taking someone back into your life. Forgiveness doesn’t mean trusting them again. Forgiveness doesn’t mean making excuses for them. Forgiveness means that you have chosen to let go of any bitterness or anger, not for their benefit but for yours.
I am on a journey of forgiveness. It’s a process. I’m in therapy to try to work things out and I think that’s helping. If I want to be a disciple of Christ I have to forgive. I don’t have to tolerate abuse. I don’t have to take anyone’s crap. But I do need to find it in my heart to forgive those who have wronged me, who have mistreated me.
This evening I began an in-depth study of Daniel that I bought from Christian Book.
I am really excited.
Two companies have entire series with individual studies of each book of the Bible, as well as some topical studies. To start off, I have ordered one study on Daniel, one on Revelation, and one about angels.
Rereading the first half of Daniel this evening has been really illuminating. I have been in the New Testament for quite a while. But every chapter of this book is a constant reminder to prevail, to have strength. Of course there’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Everybody knows the story about the fiery furnace. But there’s so much more than that. Kings were ordering fortune-tellers and sorcerers to death right and left, and Daniel was able to speak up and interpret the King’s dream because God had given him that gift. It had to have been at least mildly nerve-wracking to offer up not only an interpretation of the King’s dream, but to actually recount it to him, especially knowing how many people had put to death for not being able to do that. But Daniel went ahead because he knew that God had granted him that vision.
As a spiritual person I am really compelled by the central role that dreams play in Daniel. The king has important dreams that show him his future, and Daniel has visions about these dreams that he is able to interpret. Essentially, God repeatedly gives people spiritual and literal information through dreams and visions. That is incredibly powerful. People often laugh about the entire subject of interpreting dreams. Freud did the subject no favors in a lot of ways. And of course sometimes dreams have nothing to do with God. However, we should never rule out the possibility that what we have seen in our sleep is a message.
God goes where he pleases and does what he wants. He is limitless. He can speak to us regardless of our state of consciousness. I need to start paying more attention to my dreams. I need to be spiritually receptive when I am awake and when I’m asleep.
Thinking about my life, I realize how fortunate I am. I have done nothing to merit my great marriage, sweet daughter, lovely home, or artistic life. God has blessed me beyond measure.
This is what God does. He gifts us beautiful things. He holds our hands when things get difficult, and he showers us with blessings. We wade through the rain, but one way or another we are given a rainbow.
As a sinner, I deserve condemnation. Yet God has extended His hand to me. Through His Son, He has given me the gift of eternal life.
Sometimes I need to be still and count the precious blessings I have received from the Lord.
Headcovering can be controversial. In my family I have come across the stigma against submission, and the contemporary horror of headcovering. A woman covering anything is becoming more and more controversial in an age where women are supposed to be liberated by the ability to bare their flesh without shame. Maybe the baring of flesh makes some women feel liberated, but I feel liberated when I can cover. My husband, although he shows me every day that he thinks I’m beautiful, values me for so much more than my breasts or my legs. I have no desire to draw attention from other men.
Lately I have begun to wear simple, long, flowing maxi dresses. Craig loves maxi dresses, and I like to wear things he likes. I also like how comfortable the dresses are, and that they are modest. I am not against dressing a little sexier maybe for a special event, but for daily life I actually like being covered.
God is gentle with me. This devotional has a quote which says, “The closer we draw to God, the more we will treat others as He’s treated us.”
I think this is true. I am a sweeter person with God. But how much better could I be if I drew closer to Him? God wants us to love Him and try to be like Him. The more I feel the soft lavender of God on my face, the gentler I am.
My husband loves to see me wearing maxi dresses. He just likes long, flowing dresses. He’s always happy when I buy one. Maxi dresses are just his style. I haven’t bought one in a while though. Maxi dresses are hard to find sometimes.
Part of it though is modesty. When I pointed out to my husband that when I wear short addresses he can see my legs, he relied, “So can everyone else.” My husband would like me to be more modest, and as his wife I will obey. God has called me to obey my husband.
My body belongs to my husband. When we got married two became one. His body is for me, and my body is for him. If he doesn’t wish me to show off my body to other people I think that’s understandable.
To that end, I have ordered some conservative maxi dresses. I hope they fit me. It is so hard to be able to tell what size you are online. They are a long, flowy dresses in a few different colors. They have a high, modest necklines. It makes me happy to dress in something that my husband likes to see me in. And modesty can be good for the soul. In a society where so much of our worth is based on how much skin we show and how good that skin looks, keeping skin covered can actually be freeing. If someone wants to look and see if I’m beautiful, they will see my face rather than my breasts. If they want to talk to me, they will have to focus on my ideas and what I have to say. I want to be noticed for my personality.
I do not intend to dress frumpy. I will still wear jewelry and makeup – and of course I always try to make sure my headcovers are lovely. But out of respect for my husband I will try to avoid anything to form-fitting or too short. I wish to respect my husband. What matters most to me in terms of beauty is being beautiful to my husband. He loves long dresses and so it will be a pleasure for me to wear them as much as possible. He also values modesty, and I think it is good that he is helping me with my spiritual maturity by asking me to be covered and modest.
My spirit is much gentler and much quieter than it used to be. A gentle and quiet spirit in a woman is precious to God. But although I try to be gentle, sometimes I lose my temper. I don’t even try to be quiet at home. I am not even sure I am capable of being quiet!
What does it mean to have a gentle and quiet spirit? How does this pair with being a strong person, with having a strong personality, with being opinionated? Can they go together? It is such a hard issue to understand. What is wrong with a spirit that wants to do more and be more? There is a fine line between gratitude and complacency.
So far, although I am reading about it and searching scripture, the conclusions I have come to are this: do not be contentious, control your temper, and use soft words for the people around you. Perhaps being gentle and quiet has nothing to do with whether you are weak or strong, opinionated or not, or the color of your personality.
I have made so much progress on having a gentle and quiet spirit, but I have a long way to go to be pleasing to God. I focus too much on my own needs and not enough on my husband’s. I am short tempered and rash. I am too easily stressed out, instead of taking serenity from the knowledge that God is in control. My tongue is too sharp at times.
As a firm believer in gender roles, the God-designed differences between men and women, and submission, I found this book to be one that really hit home. It spelled out cogent arguments for what I already believed, and it brought to my attention fresh ideas about the roles of the sexes in light of scripture. I have found that living out God’s designed role for me makes my life and my marriage better for me. I highly recommend this book, especially for Christian feminists. It presents clear rebuttals to that ideology.