Browsing Tag

relationships

Faith, Family, Marriage, Parenting, prayer

Don’t wallow

Yesterday my  husband Ray and I were having a conversation about a relative who has basically gone “no contact” with our entire family, out of hurt and offenses. Although we have done our best to make amends with this person, and to ask forgiveness for any wrongs committed, relationships remain strained. My fervent prayer (daily) is for reconciliation.

I was sharing with Ray how deeply hurt I am over the situation, and Ray’s frustrated response was, “I know it hurts. This hurts me, too. But we can’t wallow in the hurt, Beth! We can’t stay there for the rest of our lives. We need a future!”

hurting woman

hurting woman
Source: Psychology Today

I knew Ray was speaking the truth. His word wallow bothered me a lot. The definition of “wallow” is:

  • to roll oneself about in a lazy, relaxed manner (like a pig wallowing in the mud);
  • to take unrestrained pleasure in something (like silk sheets);
  • to become abundantly supplied (like a family wallowing in sudden wealth);
  • to indulge oneself immoderately (like wallowing in self-pity);
  • to become or remain helpless.

No, I don’t want to be a victim, wallowing in hurt, anger, and self-pity! I want to be free in Christ. Jesus died for this freedom and for me and those I love to have an abundant life!

rhinoceros wallowing in muddy waterhole

rhinoceros wallowing in muddy waterhole
Source: wildlife-pictures-online.com

Pigs, hippopotamuses, elephants, rhinoceroses, warthogs, and bison instinctively wallow in dirt, mud, snow, or water. They do this for temperature regulation, parasite removal, and sun protection (their skin can get sunburned). They may also rub their scent glands around wallowing areas, possibly to mark their territory.

But as humans, our protection is in God. We can’t control what other people do or don’t do. But we can be responsible for ourselves and our own growth. We don’t have to stay stuck in the devastating hurt, or anger, or confusion. We don’t need to wallow in anything. 

She did not do wallowing

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

“For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.” (Psalm 91:3-6, NASB)

In the article, Sitting with your stuff vs. wallowing, Coach Kate Swoboda writes that “wallow” conjures up images of being stuck, hopeless, sad or defeated, and “perhaps even a little pissed,” yet being a total victim and doing very little about making any changes whatsoever.

It’s like you being seated on a plane to fly to your eagerly-anticipated vacation destination, but the plane is still sitting on the tarmac, going nowhere. Or you sitting on a train, yet the train is not moving on the rails.

It’s important not to avoid your “stuff,” since whatever you repress just gets stronger. But blowing up at whoever you’re upset with and telling him or her exactly what you think might not be wise, either.

My story

Kate says the difference between “sitting with your stuff” versus “wallowing” is in the Story. Some stories, like people are generally full of good intentions and do their best, serve you.

But a story that people are just mean and selfish doesn’t serve you well. In these situations where you believe that people are always mean, you might think, “Why does this always happen to me? My life feels like it will never change. It never works out.” You are, yes, wallowing!

In the first story, sitting with your stuff instead of wallowing, you might think, “I don’t like how this feels. I’m so sad. Yet this where I’m at right now. This really sucks. But it won’t last forever.”

Kate encourages us to make space for the parts that make us human (where we might be inclined to wallow, i.e., the emotional pain), but not let it define us. And as my husband Ray said, to not let it be our future.

I personally believe forgiveness is a large part of not letting hurts define us. Forgiveness takes time, God’s power, and our will. It is not an easy or quick fix, but necessary for spiritual growth and maturity.

Understanding our true identity in Christ also helps set us free. No one and nothing else defines who we are: a royal daughter (or son) of the King!

The future

Are you wallowing about anything right now? I encourage you to bring it to God and let Him help heal you so that you can move forward with your life and God-designed purpose. One day at a time.

*******

A good resource to help you with this issue is Coffee with God: Starting Your Day Right With Prayer & The Bible. You can get this encouraging eBook at Amazon here.

Coffee With God eBook

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Blog, Faith, Homeschooling, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Time Management

Create beauty each day

A pretty breakfast setting

My pretty breakfast setting this morning

“My mother created a beautiful home environment, which helped me to learn how to see and how to live. Writers have to find their own voices. I had to learn how to see. Mother’s innate aesthetic sense affected everything she did. When I think back to the meals we ate together as a family, I remember the fresh flowers on the table, the food attractively arranged on the plate and planned partly with color in mind. To Mother, truth was beauty lived every day. Not only did Mother did me to appreciate beauty by her example, she also taught me an invaluable lesson–the importance of creating beauty each day, and how to do it.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard, Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life

I love beautiful things. In fact, unexpectedly someone told me today that my Facebook posts sometimes remind her of Anne Ortlund, author of Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman. I was shocked, as she was a great woman of God, and her husband Ray was a great man of God. What a huge compliment!

I believe that it’s so important to notice and surround ourselves with beauty every day. A vase of fresh flowers. Fragrant candles or Scentsy warmers. Pretty paintings. Strawberries in a bowl on the kitchen counter. A crystal glass of your fave drink. A hand-made quilt and freshly washed sheets on your bed with fluffy pillows.

A cute coffee mug (maybe with some chocolate!). Lavender bath salts and unique scented shower gels like honeysuckle and jasmine in the bathroom. Soft pillows on couches and loveseats. Happy family photos. A friendly welcome mat at your front or back door and invite friends over and order pizza (or enjoy Ray’s infamous, mouth-watering Cajun chicken on the grill!). 

dolphin Image source: http://www.defenders.org/

dolphin
Image source: http://www.defenders.org/

When you look at creation, you can see that God loves beauty, too. A bright red male cardinal. The moon and stars shining luminously. The glorious rays of the sun. The sound and beauty of the amazing ocean waves, on glistening white sands and the wind blowing through the palm trees. Majestic blue, snow-capped mountains. Orange desert cactus blooming. Sunrises and sunsets, each one different and breath-taking. Dolphins, sharks, stingrays, lions, tigers, black panthers, elephants, zebra, giraffe, kangaroo, wolves, butterflies, kittens, puppies, all that has been created by God with a word.

The Bible tells us to focus on what’s beautiful. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8, KJV

Image resource: Pinterest-woman and coffee

beautiful woman writing with coffee
Image resource: Pinterest

God sees you and me as beautiful. In Song of Solomon 2:14, NLT, it says, “My dove is hiding behind the rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely.”

Our enemy Satan does all he can to mar our beauty and the beauty of this world. From pollution on this earth to pollution in our souls, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10)

He wants our marriages, families, physical bodies, homes, environment, work places, walk with Christ, and attitudes as ugly as possible. He is the author of lies, confusion, and destruction. I was about to Skype my sweet friend last night, when she texted me. “Hold on. Coming. We are having chaos.” In the other room of her house, there were shouting and angry words between her husband and her son. 

happy couple

happy couple

The enemy never stops. He won’t until he’s burning in the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:10) Because he’s so relentless, we as believers in Christ need to do all we can to display God’s beauty and create it in our lives. 

  • We can be beautiful women of God by obeying and serving Him with our time, our resources (such as money, our work, or other physical resources), our spiritual gifts and our lives. As we spend more time with Jesus each day, we become more like Him, by God conforming us into His image. (Romans 8:29)
  • We can bring beauty to our relationships by loving and forgiving others, encouraging them daily, and helping them. Each day we can wipe the slate clean. God’s mercies are new each morning. (Lamentations 3:23)
  • We can make our homes beautiful, a place of safe refuge and comfort, by keeping it clean, organized, and beautifully decorated with the resources we have“I suddenly realized that God’s beautiful Proverbs 31 woman was the sparkling jewel in her husband’s life! She brought the love, the color, the joy, the life, and the energy to the home!” (Elizabeth George, Beautiful in God’s Eyes)
  • We can have an impact on this world and make it beautiful by sharing the good news of Jesus and our powerful testimony. Tell your story with others. Allow God’s anointing to flow through you as an open conduit of His power. (1 John 2:27)
  • We can have a beautiful attitude by being positive and faith-filled, instead of being negative, complaining, criticizing, or being ungrateful. (Philippians 2:14) Ask God to heal any wound in your heart that prevents your utmost, inner beauty from shining forth. 
  • We can visit beautiful places, traveling to new towns, states, and nations, eating new foods, meeting new people, and making new, beautiful memories that last a lifetime. 
  • We can leave a beautiful legacy with our children and grandchildren by fulfilling the calling and purpose God has assigned for our lives, and by showing them Jesus through our godly example.

I want to be a beautiful woman, inside and out, and to surround myself with beauty, don’t you? 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4, NIV

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Promises In The Dark: One Woman's Search for Authentic Love

You can read how God made beauty out of the ashes of my life in my memoir, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love. Click here to find out more. 

 

 

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Blog, Faith, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

Walk free

Have you ever gone somewhere new and found out that the directions you had didn’t work or the highway you were taking was closed due to construction? Or that your smart phone’s GPS didn’t work right?

This happened to my husband Ray and me this year in January when we were going to a marriage retreat in Kansas City, Kansas. I had signed us up for the retreat as a surprise for some much needed R & R for Ray and me at the nice hotel Chateau Avalon, where the retreat was held. They deliver breakfast to your hotel door and each room has a big jacuzzi tub.

road

I had the correct address, had printed off the directions to the hotel from Mapquest online, and was using my iPhone’s GPS to get us there. Ray was tired from having worked several shifts, so I drove. For some reason the GPS didn’t work and the printed directions didn’t help.

I had to depend on God and Ray to get us safely there. As a paramedic, Ray often drives the ambulance to Kansas City hospitals, so he knew the area better than I did. The Holy Spirit led us the right way, but we’d never been this way before. 

Maybe something like this has happened to you, too. Maybe this year you’re going a way you haven’t gone before. It can be scary and uncertain.

Ray and I are there right now with our housing situation. Our lease at the rental house where we live is up on April 30, 2016. We’re not sure what’s going to happen yet or where we will live. Our faith is being tested. We’re having to trust God.

Karen Wells, Doreen Penner, Beth Jones

Speakers Karen Wells, Doreen Penner, and Beth Jones

If this situation resonates with you, I invite you to join me and my anointed speaker friends Doreen Penner and Karen Wells for our exciting virtual event on Thursday, April 7, 2016,  Walk Free Summit. There are three different speakers’ sessions and it will begin 10 a.m. Central Time.

Hiker

The event is free, and at the end of each speaker’s session we’re opening the phone lines for you to share your heart: comments, questions, or prayer requests. 

It’s time for you to walk free in Jesus Christ’s authority. 

You can find out more information and sign up right now by clicking here.

Please share with your family, friends, and peers. 

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