forgiveness…

it seems that in my life right now, forgiveness is a major theme. i’m doing research on the topic and it’s been brought up several times in my life groups and now in my morning devotionals.

i KNOW that there are people that i have not forgiven for things. i know that. and i know that for one of them, i’ve worked very hard to forgive and the others, i haven’t worked as hard. it’s as though something inside me doesn’t want to forgive them – like i don’t feel that they deserve the effort i’d put into trying to forgive. of course, the hard part is THAT’S THE TRUTH. they DON’T deserve it. they don’t deserve anything. but neither do i.

forgiveness is not something that i need to do so that these people can move on with their lives. they’ve already moved on. i’m the one that is stuck in the past, being hurt over and over again by these people. i like to think that i’m a pretty forgiving person, though it’s evident that i’m not when it comes to serious offenses. i hold and hold and hold onto grudges and anger and hurt and resentment. i think that i know better than God does, thinking that i don’t really need to let it go.

i know that these unforgiveness areas are WONDERFUL footholds for satan. all he has to do is bring up something remotely related and off i go. he’s a pretty smart cookie. i think that i’ve known all of this for a really long time, like, known it in my head, but i don’t know that the knowledge has necessarily made it into my heart and into my actions and emotions. i feel like i’ve been trying to coast on the label of ‘i’m a christian so of course i’m forgiving’ when the truth is not that at all.

i CHOOSE to be a christian, therefore, i CHOOSE to accept the life that comes along with that, the rules, the regulations, everything. that includes forgiving. THAT IS HARD! no one ever chooses to be a christian because it’s easy. who EVER would choose this life if they wanted an easy life? an easier life would be getting to do what i want, when i want, how i want with no consequences because i’m living my life according to my own rules. THAT would be easier, though it may involve much more heartache and things. but in my mind, it would be the life. i don’t have to answer to anyone, i don’t have to account for what i’m doing.

that is NOT the christian life.

life throws stuff at us and as living things, we react, and we jump somewhere. the question is, where are we jumping? are we jumping to where it’s easier, or are we jumping to where we will become better people and better christians? as my pastor said yesterday, are we jumping to comfort or are we jumping to character development? where is it that we want to go?

my instinct, and i’d imagine yours as well, is to jump to where it’s comfortable, jump to where it’s easy, jump to where i don’t have to work. jump toward unforgiveness.

that’s not where God wants me to be jumping, though. God wants me to be jumping toward character development. jumping toward forgiveness, knowing and realizing that it will be a process. a daily process of giving up thoughts, attitudes, and mental actions to Him, to allow Him to change me. i know that i can never forgive these people on my own. i’d never want to. however, the life i’ve chose and continue to choose requires that i do. i can’t move forward until this is gone. i can’t grow and develop if i allow these stumbling blocks to keep me where i am.

so once again, i start the trek back toward forgiveness. once again, i take on the challenge and task of doing this forgiveness thing, giving up thoughts and attitudes, checking my thoughts and attitudes constantly, stopping myself when i start to ruminate and praying for these people. a lot. praying happiness and blessing. i hate it when i have to do that. but, life isn’t about me. at least not the life i’m choosing to live.

… Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

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feeling at home…

have you ever been to a place where you just feel like you’re home? it just seems that everything fits and like this time and place has been designed for you to be there?

driving home from the cities this morning and driving into fargo actually seemed really WEIRD. maybe it’s because we went to the cities on a tuesday and slept in a strange place and i knew i was going straight to school and not home, or maybe, just maybe it’s because i found a place where i think i really, truly belong. a place where the school’s philosophy and class plan resonate with my soul. a place that truly is a world of its own.

we went to an informational meeting at bethel seminary last night. i wasn’t sure what to expect or who would be there or even what would be going on. i felt bad asking james to go to the cities on a tuesday night, to burn a full day of vacation time, to throw a curve ball into the week. now that it’s all said and done though, i think it was really worth it.

i take that back.

i KNOW it was worth it. it was worth it to hear what they have to say. it was worth it to ask my questions and get my answers. it was worth it to almost hear God say ‘this is it. get ready.’ i’m very optimistic about my chances of getting in, especially after talking to the program director. it was nice to hear james say ‘you will be *very* at *home* here. and i agree.

these past few weeks/months have been quite the roller coaster, trying to write, to prove that i’m good enough not only to myself, but to other people. to allow myself to trust in my writing and in other’s editing. to throw up my hands and say ‘you have to get this God, because i can’t do it’. to not think about it for days and then to have a mild panic attack because it suddenly hits me as i’m going to bed. to talk and talk about it with james, to talk about things that we don’t need to talk about yet. to talk about the ridiculous things. to talk about the nonridiculous things.

at least i know he’s got my back. the whole way. it’s a pretty amazing feeling. now i just have to wait to see what they say.

thankful…

we went to a friend’s house to watch the superbowl yesterday and actually had a pretty good time. i, of course, knitted the whole time, barely watching the game or the lame-wad commercials. i enjoyed some great food, good company, and ok conversation.

we were one of three couples there, both of which have been married for about 10 years. and i have to admit that if that is what i have to look forward to in 10 years, i’m not entirely sure why i got married. fortunately, the realistic side of me knows that a marriage is what you make it, not what it just becomes.

i’m thankful that i don’t have to compete with porn, beer and the need to be right. i’m thankful that i don’t have to worry about james ogling megan fox. not only do i not have to worry about it, he tells me that she’s got nothing on me. i don’t have to compete with the beauty of other women because i am the bar by which he measures other women and they always fall short.

i know, i’m being pretty mushy gushy right now, but sometimes things just hit me. i come to a realization. not that i never knew it before, but it’s as thought i’ve rediscovered it, as though i’d forgotten about it and the realization is just as wonderful as the first time i had it. i know i’ve talked before about our relationship and thought that we have such a strange relationship as compared to many that we know. i started to think that i was being a *tiny* bit narcissistic and a little grandiose, but i’m once again reminded that it is the truth, not a false and arrogant perception.

there is certainly a possibility that it’s newlywed bliss and that things will change and reality will hit, but i think it’s equally possible that things won’t change and this will become our reality. i think that a big part of that is our faith. the fact that our beliefs revolve around the idea of treating each other as well as possible, putting each other above our own interests and desires, making sure that the other has everything they could want or need.

i know that these other couples, and most ones around us, don’t have those ideals. they are wonderful people but inherently very selfish. it is the way of the human, to look out for #1, which is me. it’s more important to look out for me than for anyone else.

i think that in a truly healthy marriage, #1 is the spouse. and it’s fine that i look out for that #1 because my #1’s #1 is me. i don’t have to look out for my interests and what is best for me because someone else is already doing it. someone else has my best interests at heart, just as i have his. i love my friends and i enjoy their company simply to enjoy their company, but also for the reminder of what i have and to remember to truly treasure and cherish each moment. to realize what i have and to realize that not everyone has what i have. others have spouses and they have spouses that they love and who love them back, but not all of them have a selfless love – a love that only come from the overflow of the cup which God fills inside of us. that’s a very special kind of love and i hope and pray that it never goes away.

it’s quite the feeling to realize what and who you have and it’s quite the feeling to be incredibly thankful. i want these reminders for the rest of my life so that i always remember to know what and who i have and know that only by the grace of God did james come into my life and choose to share it with me, even though i was a christian. only by the grace of God did i choose to enter into an unequally yoked relationship. only by the grace of God did our story unfold and become what it has become.

where friendships are formed…

i am blessed to be part of an amazing life group at my church. sometimes it’s hard to believe that i could really, genuinely fit into a place like this. i get so self-conscious sometimes and i’m just not sure if i really fit, but then i look around the room and see all the different personalities and gifts and talents and backgrounds and present situations and i realize that this is the only kind of place i could REALLY fit. we may all be so different, but we are chasing and pursuing the same goal.

it’s also really great when i find that a few of them truly love doing what i love to do – run. i created an event on facebook for people i knew are runners or training for the fargo marathon weekend so that we could take a morning to run together.

i’ve been OBSESSIVELY checking it, too.

so far, i’m STILL the only one attending.

then, i went to my life group tonight and someone ELSE was pimping my running group for me and now i know for sure that two other wonderful ladies will be there on saturday morning at 9 am to run with me. we aren’t going far or fast, but we’re going to be doing it together. we’re going to be doing something we enjoy and we’re going to be able to hopefully create friendships, ones that will last an eternity.

it never ceases to amaze me how encouraging it is to meet new people and then have them commit to something that i’ve desperately wanted others to commit to doing. i don’t want to run together necessarily for my sake, to feel cool or whatever, but to be able to encourage each other in our training or just to simply run together. to simply do something that we all enjoy.

i’ve been really enjoying actually TRAINING and not just running or whatever to be in shape. it’s so much more motivating to have a goal in mind, to really be working toward something and to HAVE THE TIME TO DO IT! i am so excited for my life group and this running group. i’m so excited for the places we will go, the hearts and minds and lives that will be changed, the stories that will be shared and the friendships that we be formed.

after all, that’s what prairie heights life groups are (pretty much) all about.