Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Freedom in Forgiveness

When I was a young buck, my friends and I decided to head down to my "clubhouse" which was an abandoned old family home. Somewhere in there we decided to hop in the truck with some friends and go riding dirt roads. When I say hop, I don't mean in the extended cab buckled in my seatbelt, I really mean hop, like in the bed of the truck sitting on a greasy tire and ol leaky cans rolling around.
Mind you, I was 14 and couldn't even date much less be out past 10 p.m. in the bed of a truck.

My brother comes in and mama ask him to ease on down to the clubhouse and check on us. Since I didn't let him know I would be out joyriding with my hair in the wind and he should cover for me, he tells mama we aren't there.
Now, I'm a mama and I just can't imagine what I would've done, I'm sure I would've cut a switch and whooped my friends and I like we were 9, but she didn't.

The next day, she took all of my friends home, told their parents what happened and on the way home she gave me my punishment. She said I would be grounded for what felt like the rest of my life. But, what she said that I'll never forget was this: "You lost my trust." Y'all that rocked me, I never wanted her to lose trust in me. I worked hard over those 3 months to earn her trust and somewhere along the way, I did.

She forgave me.

That sentence stands alone because it's the most important part of the story and the longest life lesson and one of the hardest for me to experience.

Now that I'm grown folks I run into situations and obstacles all the time that call for forgiveness, me to forgive someone or someone to forgive me.
The word in Greek is aphiemi, meaning to send away. Refusing to carry something instead choosing to send it away. When we struggle to forgive it affects everything, mostly our hearts.
 Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone else free and realizing that we were the prisoner.
God speaks on forgiveness many times in the Bible, I love this one, the scripture plainly commands it.
Ephesians 4:32 "Instead, be kind and tenderhearted to one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ."
If God can forgive the sinful life I've lead and the times I've let Him down, then I can do the same for others.
Now, when we are talking about an unkind word someone has said, a white lie, or smaller offenses it can be relatively easy to forgive but those are not always the case.
We may stumble upon more serious cases such as unfaithfulness, drunk driving taking our loved one away, or someone hurting our children, those are doozies.
Is it possible to forgive these?
Yes, Jesus Christ can help us to forgive the smallest and largest sins. He can help us to see our offender through His eyes.

We don't have the right to not forgive, we owe it to them, our own heart, and more importantly we owe it to The Lord to seek him deeper and forgive what is burdening our hearts.
If you are having a hard time today trusting, forgiving someone, forgiving yourself, or moving on let me show you where to turn.
Those are a few that I lean on, earmark them in your Bible and seek His word, council, and strength.
All can be forgiven.

Mama forgave me and eventually trusted me again, I had many years left to mess up but I always tried to maintain her trust.
Life is hard but as always we have someone who is so mighty that we can turn to.
Forgiveness equals freedom, what do you need to let go of today?

Have Zest and Forgive as He does.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"She picked them, He chose me."

It was a breezy April evening, lately our Mississippi weather has remixed on us leaving our flowers so confused.
The Sharks (my son, Xander's soccer team) were playing an excellent game, they are in the fundamental stage of soccer so watching it click for them is so entertaining.

Meraleigh, our sweet 3 year old found herself skipping and picking clovers in a nearby field. She popped up beside me with her hands behind her back smiling with bright blue eyes blinking at me and said, "you'll lub these little yellow flowers." With surprise I scooped her up and my bushel of handpicked flowers and thanked her over and over.

As she danced back to the clovers I thought about how above all, she picked and gave those flowers to me. With intent, she chose them, arranged them, and decided to surprised me.
All that she had, she gave with pure gratitude.

Quickly, I was reminded of another time that has happened.
God gave us the greatest gift He had, He gave us eternal life.
An instant gift, the moment you believe that Jesus is God's Son, and accept Him into your life.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Where are you, right now, where are you?
There isn't a sin that will not be forgiven. We aren't picked apart or picked on, we are chosen by God with purpose and we can't find his purpose if we continue allow sin to separate us from Him.
Jesus died so that we could have everlasting life, He did that for all of us but He would have done it for just you alone.
Have we truly accepted Jesus Christ?
Are we longing for peace, great love, or a love that is unwavering?
There is something more than the physical you, there is the spirit-it lives inside and it will never be satisfied or be whole with things of the earth. It must have things of the spirit and that is God.

We are ALL sinners, we have all lived for ourselves and disobeyed God, we have all fallen short but that's not where it ends. We have the same opportunity to have everlasting life by saying a prayer of salvation, confessing our sins-where we fell short of the mark, professing faith in Christ as our Savior and Lord, and pray this prayer.
"Father, I know my sins have separated me from you. I'm sorry and I want to walk away from a sinful life and walk towards you. Forgive me. I believe your son Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, and He is alive and hears my prayers. I'm inviting Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Amen."

Meraleigh gave me a gift, all that she had, it was her best, and she chose to share them with me.
God gave His son for all, not a few, but all and that was His best most perfect gift. We don't have to win it, earn it, or work for it, it is free. God freely gave to all who will receive Him.

If you don't know Him as your Lord and Savior, I want to help you get there.

"Have Zest and Receive His Gift"