Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gentleness of God pt. 2

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 
Galatians 5:22-23

When I think of the Fruit of the Spirit, gentleness is not one of the things that comes to mind first. Love, joy, peace, patience, self-control . . . they are always the first five that come to mind, but kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness are the four that I have to work a little harder to come up with. Gentleness is typically the last one. But as God has been teaching me about how gentle He is, it makes so much more sense how this is a key fruit of the Spirit.

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits,unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18

Gentleness is an important piece to living a life that is full of the Spirit as well to understanding how to help people.  Wisdom from God is gentle.  Because of God, I am an edifier . . . that is my spiritual gift.  I am constantly being asked for advice, for prayer, for encouragement, for a listening ear, etc.  I enjoy giving those things, but I have done this without gentleness on countless occasions.  I want to take this opportunity to apologize to those of you whom I have given one of these things to without being gentle.  It is really easy to give advice and not be gentle.  It is really easy to pray for someone and not be gentle. It is at these points that my pride takes over, and I am thinking more about myself than about the person in front of me.  I'm human, and I am still growing.  

I'm so glad that God is gentle with me.  Now if I can just learn to be gentle with others.  Please be gentle with me, and I will strive to be gentle with you.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Gentleness of God pt. 1

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

I don't know that many people actually teach that God is waiting to pounce on you in judgment when you sin, but I believe that developmentally speaking we tend to perceive this as we grow up in church and hear all the laws that God has.

We learn that we can't reach God because of our sin, and therefore, God had to prepare a way for us to reach Him through Christ's death on the cross. We learn what sin is, and we need to avoid sinning because God hates sin. He does hate sin, but He doesn't hate sinners. Why else would He have sent His son to die on the cross to provide a way to Himself if He hated us. He actually loves us and even likes us!

Unfortunately, it is difficult for us to separate our sin from who we are as a child, and we grow up with that belief system. The reality is we are more than the sum of our behaviors. If you are a parent you get this . . . a child can do terrible things and you still love them! How much more does God love us, even when we sin.

This is not a license to go on sinning. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. (Romans 6:1-2a). But it is a license to rest in the Lord's grace. He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, faithfulness, forgiving, and gentle.

When God showed me the depth of the pride in my life, I prayed that He would humble me without humiliating me. In retrospect, it is an interesting prayer. Some people that struggle with pride do have to be humiliated, but I have learned that that isn't His intent. He speaks to us all the time, but we have to be still enough to hear and willing enough to act. He has been gracious to me, and He continually shows me ways to learn humility without being humiliated.

Just the other day, I was sitting amongst fellow counseling professionals at a workshop, and the conversation about ethics and other ways of dealing with clients was astounding to me. I couldn't believe the conversation that people were processing through.  I was thinking, "This is common sense!" I then contributed to the conversation, and the leader of the workshop said, "That is profound." I couldn't believe she thought what I said was profound until I realized that this is just wisdom from God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning ofknowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7). Here I was thinking in a very condescending fashion towards my fellow professionals, and God reminded me that He gave me that wisdom. I have no right to be condescending and judgmental about that. I should take a stance of gratefulness for what He has taught me, and love for those who do not know Him and thus don't have the understanding that He gave me. Wisdom only comes to those who fear the Lord first. So seek hard after Him, this is the beginning of wisdom. Give credit where credit is due . . . to Him and Him alone. "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36)

I tell you this story because of how gently God rebuked my pride. He didn't beat me over the head. He didn't humiliate me in front of my peers. He spoke in a still small voice. Listen closely to our gentle God.  He isn't waiting for you to mess up so He can just pounce on you.  

"The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of theLord, for the Lord is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." (I Kings 19:11-12)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Adoption Journey, part 4: And we are on the list . . .

After months of filling out paperwork and jumping through hoops, we are finally on a list that will have our profile shown to birth mothers.  The last step was a photo book describing our life.

I was a bit frustrated as I wasn't told about it until the day before we moved into our new house.  I could have been working on it for months, but she neglected to tell me until then.  If you know us at all, then you know when we moved into our house it immediately became a construction zone as we are doing extensive remodeling.  I knew it was going to be a while until I was able to work on the book, and it was.  The renovations in our house are going slowly due to Miles' health and uncommonly increased real estate business for the months of January and February.  Increased business is great; I am not complaining!  I have learned alot about letting God time things out though.

God knew that the lady wasn't going to tell me about the book until the day she did.  God knew that Miles' health would take a bit of a dive.  God is the One Who brings business to us. God knew the renovations would take longer than we anticipated due to all of those things.  The child that we are supposed to have will not be deterred by these things.  God is not bound by seemingly poor timing.  He is in control of everything.  We need not worry.

Anyway, with the help of some friends and family, I got the photo book completed (with 2 minor errors I might add . . . it doesn't sit well with my slightly OCD personality :)).  I shipped two to me, and one to the agency.  They emailed me on Thursday to tell me that they received the book.  They also told me that our home study addendum, that needs to be completed because we moved since our original home study, will not keep her from showing our profile to birth mothers.  I was very relieved by that!  Miles unfortunately was panicked because we have two stud walls with hot wires on them and a set of open stairs into the basement . . . things that will not pass a home study addendum.  It will get done.  I'm not worried.  We have both been reminded over the last couple of months how God is in control of everything.  Worry does nothing but waste your time and energy.

We covet your prayers above everything else during this process.  Please pray with us about several things:
1.  Pray that we will continue to be patient and trust God during this process.  We could literally receive a phone call today saying we have a baby, come pick them up today; or it could be years until a call comes.  The limbo is difficult.
2.  Pray for Miles' health to improve.
3.  Pray for the birth moms' out there that are making the difficult decision to give up their children.
4.  Pray for the child that God has picked out for us.  Pray for his/her protection in utero and out.
5.  Pray for progress on our renovation.
6.  Pray for business for Miles' to help pay for the renovations and the adoption.
7.  Pray for funding for the adoption.  It is a very expensive process.  If you would like to help us financially to fund this adoption, below is the link to our gofund me page.


Below is the link to ou
r photo book for the birth mom's to look at and get to know us some.  Please take a look at it.  Show it to people.  The goal is to get our story out there.


Now that this unforeseen piece is completed, time to start applying for grants.