Monday, July 21, 2014

Unforgiveness & Apologies

 

So much truth in that! Sometimes we hold on to our bitterness and unforgiveness thinking it is going to affect or change the other person, when in reality the only person it is hurting is US. It limits our walk with the Lord, & honestly, I truly believe it can wreak so much havoc on you mentally and emotionally that it can even affect you physically.

God has blessed me tremendously with some Godly friends who really add a lot of value to my life and make me a better person. But I have a couple of ‘friends’ who have really hurt me, and I held on to some bitterness for a while. Letting GO of that was such a freeing feeling, and it brought so much joy and peace back in to my life. It has been awesome to see my relationship with the Lord thriving again as a result. I didn’t realize how much holding on to that negativity was affecting me and am super glad for that phase to be over. (I couldn’t post about it during the process because I couldn’t find the right words, but now that I am on the other side I feel comfortable sharing how I was delivered from those feelings.) Praying genuinely about it has revealed quite a bit about those situations. I won’t go into any details, but ladies especially, guard yourself and your heart and watch out for “mean girls.” Sad, but true, and unfortunately a lot of that stems back to jealousy. (Here are a few others posts about that: "Why do women tear others down?", "Are you insecure?", "Why do we compare ourselves to others?", "Surround yourself with who you want to be", "Lord, Teach me to LOVE."

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Maybe it’s not a friend who has hurt you. Maybe it is a co-worker, an acquaintance, or even worse, a spouse or a family member. I truly believe God desires restoration!! That doesn’t mean the relationship has to be restored to the way it was before, but it means that you agree to truly forgive and move on, and still LOVE that person like Christ would (despite how they choose to respond- you can’t control that, and be mindful of how differently they may respond if they aren’t a believer). “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” –Matthew 5:24

Society tells us to “forgive, but don’t forget.” That is not what God tells us through his example. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:8 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." In Psalm 103:12 it tells us God forgives “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Micah 17:9 says “Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” Y’all, this is why we have to saturate our minds and hearts with the Word. It is so easy to fall prey to what “the world” tells us. It sounds right. It feels right. But it doesn’t line up with the Word. As a believer, are you trying to be like Christ or be like the world? (Check out Galatians 1:20 & Romans 12:2…two of my faves.)

**By the way, although God calls us to truly forgive and forget, we are not God and it’s not always a “once and done” deal for us. Sometimes we have to make the decision to forgive daily. Take captive EVERY though & renew your mind. Recognize that not every thought that comes to your mind is from God, and you have to be prayerfully in tune with God so you can recognize what is from God, what is from the flesh, and what is from the enemy. Satan wants nothing more than to put you in bondage because you are dwelling on the past. Sometimes, when the people that have hurt me pop up in my life, I have to use that as a time to go to the Lord so that I do not get caught up allowing it to steal my thoughts.

The best way to do this is through communicating directly with that person, and that should be done ONLY after you’ve talked to God about it. Our natural instinct (well, mine anyway) is to go to those closest to me and ask for their opinion. Although there is definitely value in seeking Godly counsel, ask yourself “Have I talked to God about it as much as I’ve talked to others about it?” Pray, pray, and pray some more. I know sometimes confrontation is hard when there is a deep hurt. Sometimes it takes TIME to heal some before you’re ready to confront it. But the truth is, only GOD can provide that restoration anyway. None of us are strong enough in our own flesh to forgive others, and if you’re like me, that might mean asking God to help you even have a desire to forgive even when (you feel) the other person doesn’t deserve it. Newsflash: We don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, but thank the Lord he is gracious and merciful anyway!! (And I’m talking to myself here more than anyone else.)

The word “forgiveness” in the Greek means “letting go,” and it’s a word rooted in humility.

Does knowing that not give you such a different mindset? The opposite of humility is PRIDE, so if forgiveness is correlated with humility, unforgiveness is a direct result of PRIDE.  God HATES pride. Look up Proverbs 16:18 when you get a chance. That is a verse that always comes to mind when I recognize some thought or behavior of mine as being rooted in pride.

“I don’t deserve that.” As Christians, if our goal is to be more like Christ, we have to recognize his mindset was the complete opposite of that, and for me, God has to do a LOT of work through me to change that attitude. I also study & meditate on scriptures about forgiveness, and that helps transform my mindset and my heart.

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On the other end of that spectrum is apologizing and asking for forgiveness. Once again, it is often our PRIDE that keeps us from doing that. We feel justified. The other person wronged us too, so why should WE be the one to apologize?? Well, because God called us to….that’s why. (I know…kinda reminds you of a “Because I’m your mother and I said so…” right?) Here are a few Biblical-based tips (our wise Sunday school teachers) shared for apologizing and asking for forgiveness:

  1. Apologize sincerely.
  2. Do not say “if I hurt you.” (Try to understand the extent of the hurt.)
  3. Say “I’m sorry I cut you with my words.”
  4. Do not minimize the offense.
  5. Do not make excuses.
  6. Do not blame others.
  7. Even if your part is 10 % and theirs is 90 % be the first to ask.
  8. REPENT. Do not repeat the offense. (through Christ)

I know in my 28 years, there are a lot of people I have wronged and hurt; a lot of times unintentionally, but inexcusable nonetheless. I have tried to make amends with the times God has put clearly in my memory, but I am sure there are some I am missing. So if you’re reading this and I have hurt you in some way, I would love to talk to you about it so I can genuinely apologize.

Here are some action steps to move forward with forgiving others & with asking for forgiveness:

*Ask God to reveal any unforgiveness in your life. Then ask for help in letting go and truly forgiving that person. (Again, I encourage you to study Scriptures on forgiveness.)

*Ask God for forgiveness for your own sins.

*Ask others (whom you have wronged in any way) for forgiveness. Repent from that.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hollifield Wedding

We had several weddings in May, and one of them was the Hollifield/Cochran wedding. Jonathan has known both Daniel & Colette for forever, and I got to know them when we first started dating about 8 years ago. (I can’t BELIEVE it was that long ago! Time is FLYING!!). Him & Daniel have always been really good buddies and were actually going to school together for architectural drafting when Jonathan & I first started dating.

Colette made such a BEAUTIFUL bride! She really just lights up a room. She has such a gorgeous smile and contagious laugh and has always been such a sweetheart to me. She and Daniel dated for yearsssss so it was super exciting and special to watch them tie the knot. Plus, we loved getting to hang out with lots of friends Jonathan grew up with at the wedding and reception. It was a mini-reunion!

They got married at Warbington Farms and it was a total Pinterest-worthy wedding from start to finish. We rode a tractor down to the actual wedding site which was under some beautiful trees in a small clearing near a creek. The reception was under a big pavilion & the details were gorgeous. Colette gave me permission to share some of their lovely  pictures, so here they are. These are the ones I took with the good ole camera phone.

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Jonathan sure makes one HANDSOME groomsmen!!

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Here comes the beautiful bride!

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Jonathan & some of his best buds.

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Mr. & Mrs. Hollifield!!

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We had to leave a little earlier than I would have liked because I was still nursing and HAD to pump before things got out of control. Jase came with us to the rehearsal but my mom watched him on the actual wedding day.

LOVE me some Jonathan Butler!!

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Also thankful I got to spend some time with my BFF Laura! One of my favorite people!!

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Here are some of the professional pictures!

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Congrats, Daniel & Colette!! We love you & wish you a lifetime of love, happiness, blessings, and a home full of little Hollifield’s!!

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What Jase is up to…

Hey sweet buddy!! You turned 14 months old on July 8th. It has been such a JOY watching you grow and we love seeing your sweet personality shining through. We are so thankful God blessed us with you! You are the absolute LIGHT of our world and bring so much love to everyone who knows you. You have the coolest little personality.

  • You are a walking machine!! You walk everywhere now (feel like it happened overnight), can get around pretty fast now, and prefer to hold our hand because you can pretty much run then. You look like Frankenstein when you walk because it’s very stiff-legged and with both arms straight out. So CUTE!

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  • You can say quite a few words now. A few I can think of that we have heard you say are Mommy, Daddy, Granddaddy, Mac (that’s what you call every dog), bye bye, night night, Jase,& bia (although we’re not quite sure what that means).
  • You are so SILLY. You love to giggle and love to make other people laugh. You do this hilarious fake laugh too that cracks us up, and you laugh even more when everyone else is laughing. I hope you keep this awesome sense of humor.
  • Your feet are HUGE! You’re about to outgrow your size 6’s and you can fit in 24 mos and 2T clothing pretty easily.
  • Your hair is so blonde & you have a little bit of an awesome mullet going on. I’m in no rush to cut it.
  • You cut 4 molars at the same time and took it like a champ. You have 12 teeth total right now & chew your food up like a boss.
  • You had your first busted lip & there were LOTS of tears…way more from me than you. Of course it was the one time Daddy was out of town, and Mommy was a HOT MESS over it.

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  • You had swim lessons with Infant Swim Resource (ISR). It was a rough few weeks for both of us. Lots of prayer! I highly recommend it though.
  • We weaned from nursing the second week in July, right after you turned 14 months. You were totally fine with it.
  • You have become super cuddly and let me hold you like a little baby while you suck your thumb. You like for me to hold you this way when you wake up in the mornings and before naps.
  • You are still taking 2 naps a day (the first one is 2 1/2 – 3 hours and the second is 1- 2 hours) & sleep for 12 hours solid at night. You like your sleep & you get it honest.
  • You LOVE to drink water!
  • You love to give kisses!! Good thing…I give you about 9 million every day.

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  • You love to go on walks. You eat your little cereal O’s, drink your water, and lay back so contently.

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  • You don’t like to be put in your car seat, but once you’re in you are fine.

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  • You throw food off your tray when you don’t want it anymore & this is the only thing you really do that you get ‘in trouble’ for right now.

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  • You’re not a big fan of fruit. You like bananas, oranges, kiwi, and apples, but that’s it. You spit our berries, peaches, etc.
  • You hate having your diaper changed and we have to use our best methods of distraction.
  • You have taken your diaper off a few times. One time I was letting you air our and you pooped on the floor. Ummmmm??
  • You had a blast at VBS. You love big kids & music.

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  • You love play dates & having people over at our house.

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  • You love to push buttons. Phones, computers, remotes…anywhere you can find them.

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  • You love your grandparents & aunts & cousins.

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  • You love to be outside & we spend a lot of time on our front porch.

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  • You can open doors now. And even unlock them (you little smartie pants!!). Thankfully you can’t reach the deadbolt yet.
  • You’ve got some sick dance moves. You must get those from your dad.
  • You do not like to wear hats or sunglasses. Don’t let the picture fool you…

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  • You don’t like to sit still to practice words. I’ve tried teaching you to count, colors, ABCs, body parts, etc. You’re pretty on-the-move and keep us busy.
  • You are a FAST learner though. If we show you how to do something , you get it right away and remember how to do it from then on. You are also a problem solver. I think you get both of those from your Daddy.
  • You are a social bug and never meet a stranger. You wave at everyone. I think you get that one from me.

We pray for you DAILY and cannot wait to see the big plans God has in store for you!!