Forgive the Small Stuff

You ever keep hearing the same topic come up and still think, “well, that doesn’t apply to me”? I hope you are smarter than me and actually take notice when this happens.

The idea of forgiveness has been brought to my attention lately and until the end of this week I was thinking of someone else who needed to hear it. Bless my heart.

Because I am pretty good at forgiving the big things, I kind of gloss over the command to forgive 70 times 7. I get it, Jesus. You want us to forgive. Can we move on now? There have been big events in my life that I have forgiven people for, in time. My struggle is with the small things. The slights, the people who hurt my feelings, the times I am left out- those are the situations that trap me.

How is it I can forgive people who did big things on purpose but not those whose transgressions toward me are unintentional? What is wrong with me?

It occurred to me that I might not be the only one. Do you have a hard time with not holding a grudge when someone hurts your feelings? I wish I could say no, but some things I will rehash in my mind. It may not be a big deal, but by golly, by the time I am done analyzing it, it will be. The person may not even know what they have done that I am mentally punishing them for!

Several times this week, small slights have occurred that were never intended the way I took them. I guess God needed to get my attention so He could help me fix it. One is even that a new friend has not returned my text. There are many reasons this could have happened, but I jumped to: she must not really want to be my friend. (Cue sad sound.)

Let’s be honest, there are some people just naturally like this. Many of their actions can be seen as hurtful, so they are repeat offenders.

Give them grace.

People will leave you out unintentionally.

Cut them some slack.

You will think someone is ignoring you on purpose.

Believe they have a reason and give them another chance.

Someone will brush you off.

Assume they were busy and move on with life.

Your friend will say something that they knew would hurt your feelings.

Love them anyways.

Life is too short to walk around angry or frustrated with people, especially when they don’t know what they did. We (meaning I) need to work out our feelings and love unconditionally. Even holding small grudges is detrimental to our spiritual well being, so the faster we can learn to let go of the small things, the better. It won’t be easy for me, but I know I can do it with God’s help.

He’s always got my back.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Linking with Faith Along the Way

We’re Hunting Miracles

Y’all I witnessed a miracle. Actually, two. But I wouldn’t have seen them for what they were if I hadn’t been looking.

On a walk yesterday, I saw our neighbor walking her ancient, arthritic dog. We have chatted before, so it seemed natural to ask her how he is doing. The woman told me about the new laser treatments they are going to start with him while I petted and loved on him. He is such a sweet boy.

Then she thanked me for stopping and petting him. It is the highlight of his day when he is around people.

The first miracle is this woman. I see her walking painfully slow and stopping when her dog needs a rest. His feet have often been lovingly taped for walks. She is so patient and caring. Taking care of another being is hard, but she puts her whole self into it and is very attentive to him. It really is a beautiful sight and a picture of how we are to be. I just wish we saw that much devotion more often.

The other miracle is her thanking me. Yes, in my mind I was just being neighborly. She saw my gesture as more and told me. How many times have we felt we should tell someone how much their action meant to us? And yet, we often don’t follow through out of embarrassment. I know I will consider it, but then I think I will sound silly and I keep it to myself. People-kindness should always be shared! What might seem little to you could make someone’s day. It could be just what they needed to hear. What is a slightly awkward feeling (or am I the only one who walks away wondering why I said THAT?) when we can have the power to brighten another person’s life?

A factor God worked into this scenario was rain. I had planned on walking an hour earlier, but the rain from Sunday hadn’t tapered off yet. I waited as long as I could, and that gave us the chance to be outside at the same time. If I had been able to be out earlier, none of this would have happened.

Maybe these sound too mundane, but all three of us were blessed. How could they not have been from God? Before this, I probably would have walked away smiling and forgotten the experience in a few hours. But I had my eyes open. I was being sensitive to situations around me where God was working.

There are no coincidences. Everything is orchestrated by God, and He loves it when we notice! So I challenge you to open your eyes to the big and little miracles He places in front of you every day! I would love to hear about them!

Linking with Holley Gerth

My Heart Against the World

My heart cries out to You, Jesus

It knows this world can’t satisfy.

My heart says only You

The world convinces me other things will do.

My heart wants to be full of Your love

The world says this cupcake will make it better.

My heart longs to be soothed by Your voice

The world says this wine will calm me.

My heart craves Your wisdom

The world says to read this other book.

My heart longs to be near You

The world says my smart phone is the only company I need.

My heart wants to sit still and be with You

The world convinces me I need to be busy.

My heart wants your peace that passes all understanding

The world says peace only comes with more money.

My heart says I have enough

The world says I never will.

Jesus let me listen to my heart more than the world

For You are in it.

Help me fill myself up with You

Till there is room for nothing else.

Linking with Faith Along the Way

From One Family to Another

As kids, we all want to change the world. Somewhere along the way, that desire changes. We go from wanting to be super heroes, firemen, police officers, doctors, and teachers to something that will make us rich and famous. I know I wanted to be a teacher and missionary like my amazing teacher, Mrs. Leal. Then as adults, we just want to get through life. Where does the spark go?

Maybe we tried a new venture and it failed. Maybe the road ahead looked too scary so we gave up. Or maybe our goal just felt too big. Well, why do we have to make everything so big? There are so many ways to make a change. Some are huge and require life-altering decisions. Some are in the day to day of raising a family. Others are small but add up in the long run.

I know I have failed at enough direct sales that I was afraid to join Younique. It took deciding to step out and give half of our commission away for me to say yes.

At times I have felt like there is no point in trying because one person can’t make a difference. My daughter, in her never ending quest to help people, has shown me otherwise. She has never cared that she is young. She just wants to do something. So she doesn’t lose that excitement and hope, I plan on encouraging her and watering the seeds that have been planted in her.

That is why raising our families is so important. We are shaping the world one family dinner at a time. One load of laundry, one snuggle, one encouraging word at a time. We may not know the outcome for years, but our involvement in our families is crucial. Never give up.

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Now to announce Lauren’s project. Food for the Poor has teamed up with us, and together we will raise $1,895 to buy 2 goats, 1 donkey, 2 cows, 3 pigs, 20 chicks, and 1 beehive for a family in Guatemala. It is so exciting to be able to help a family in poverty to have food for generations to come.

To help, you can purchase makeup at http://www.youniqueproducts.com/sarahandlaurendonegan

Or give directly to http://www.foodforthepoor.org/sarah

Our next project will hopefully be to build a school! It still feels unreal that God wants to use us for this responsibility, but He does.

What dream is God awakening in you?

Linking with Holley Gerth and her Coffee for your Heart!

Review of Esther Queen of Persia by Jim Baumgardner

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The story of Esther has always intrigued me. When I saw that Jim Baumgardner is a grandfather telling this story for his grandchildren, I was even more intrigued. His telling of the story in Esther Queen of Persia did not disappoint me!

I went into this book wondering how Mr Baumgardner was going to take the ten chapter book of Esther in the Bible and make it a full published book. He calls it “historical fiction based upon the Bible” in his intro. He obviously researched the history and time frame the story of Esther happened. He gives a more detailed account of when things happened. Much of the book is about Esther’s year of beautification before she was chosen to be queen. The cosmetics and jewelry mentioned were part of Persian life at that time. The musical instruments she learned as well as the game of polo were timely as well. The story came alive for me more than it has before.

One of the aspects this book talks about is Esther’s state of mind. I think it is safe to say it sounds like a dream come true for most of us. Being pampered and massaged for a year. Eating all the food we want because we are too skinny. Being waited on hand and foot. Meeting the king and possibly becoming queen.

However, Esther likely had misgivings. She was raised by her devout Jewish cousin and took care of the household tasks. Although beautiful, she was down to earth. Her goal was probably to marry a Jewish man and have babies, not be one of many wives of a king who believed in many gods. This book gets in Esther’s head and shows us that this may not have been her dream come true.

Esther 4:14 is a wonderful verse where Mordecai is encouraging Esther to stand up for her people. “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” We have all faced uncertain and confusing times in our lives. We have had times where we wonder what God is up to and how He will redeem the circumstances. The lesson I learn from Esther is that as long as I stick with Jesus, He will be able to use me and bring glory to His name. I may not understand at the time, but it will one day be clear.

Who knows, God may use you and me to change the lives of many.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Linking with Faith Along the Way

God’s Gift to You

Life is a gift

That you open each day

Some days it’s sweet

A box of chocolates

The next day disappointing

A pair of socks

One day thrilling

The new iPad

Two days later a regift

Haven’t you seen this before?

Then a surprise

Tickets to a concert

Another day something small

It seems inconsequential.

No matter what happens,

Before you open your eyes,

Make sure you thank God.

Each day you are here

Is a chance to do something new

To glorify God

To bring honor to Him.

He has you here for a reason

And will bless you.

He has much in store for you

If you just open your eyes

And see today the way He sees it,

His gift to you.

Linking with Holley Gerth

When the Prayer Isn’t Being Answered

Until last night, I was planning on writing something else. I felt a different topic being pressed on me and decided to go with it. Please bear with me.

Is there something you have prayed about for a long time? Do you have a burden that you lay at Jesus’ feet daily? I know I do. And I know it is so hard. I sometimes wonder if my prayers are doing any good. Are they being heard? Despair can creep in slowly and suddenly take over. Just like that, we give up the fight.

Jesus wants you and me to know that we should keep going. When we feel like nothing is happening, it is. We may not be able to see it. We may not even feel it, but it is there. God is there in the midst of the pain. He is working on what needs to happen. He knows our human frailty and understands our doubts.

Proverbs 15:29 says God hears the prayers of the righteous.

1 John 5:14 says if we ask according to God’s will, He hears us.

Romans 12:12 tells us to be faithful in prayer.

God doesn’t want us to give up on Him. His timing is not ours, and that is the best news. Think of all the things we would miss out on-the blessings, the miracles-if everything went the way WE want it to. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know everything. I don’t know the past and the future. I know a very small amount that occurs in my bubble. God knows it all because He planned it all.

When we or someone we know has been suffering for a long time, it is devastating. God knows that, but He wants us to hold on a bit longer. As soon as He is ready, as soon as His timing is right, things will change. We just have to remember to keep praying and believing that God’s will is the best. He alone knows what needs to happen.

Know that God is on your side. He is for you, so who can be against you?

Remember God loves you more than you can imagine. He would never give up on you, so don’t give up on Him.

Never let go. Never give up hope. Never stop praying.

Linking with Faith Along the Way

Sisters

There is nothing in life like a sister. Mine came to visit for the weekend without her family. She is an interior designer and wanted to be able to focus on our new house. We had 47 hours of togetherness that went by fast.

Our weekend started off with an adventure our Mom would have been proud to witness. She probably would have been the ringleader. Elizabeth’s GPS led her through the back of the neighborhood. Her eagle eye spotted chairs by someone’s trash, so we went trash pickin’. Mom had an eye for people’s trash and could turn it into something amazing. When people admired it, she was as proud to tell them it came from the trash as some might be if it came from Ethan Allen. Thinking of that still makes me smile.

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We had lots of laughter and discussions that are difficult over Thanksgiving or other loud holidays. Although we are as different as two people can be, we had the same upbringing. We understand each other in a way others don’t. We still have a hard time missing Mom, but we have always had each other. Having her to cling to when I couldn’t talk to others has gotten me through rough times. I am at a point where Elizabeth’s bossiness is more tolerable. I understand she is trying to help and always has my best interest at heart. Besides, she is much better than me at many things. It was easier to let her tell me what to do this weekend. Our house feels more like a home after her visit and we have a long list of projects. She said she expects them to be done next time she is here. I don’t doubt her. ;)

Over two days, we only cried once. I began to cry over a picture we found and she yelled at me because I made her cry. Then we laughed at ourselves. We can always laugh and cry together and are able to switch from one to the other seamlessly.

We painted 3 chairs and a cabinet, hung pictures, arranged furniture, and bought a few tables and lamps. It was a whirlwind that left me tired, sore, and with a smile on my face. I missed her as soon as she left.

I love my siblings with an affection reserved for them. They are such a gift and bring different perspectives and characteristics than I have. Siblings may not always seem like gifts, but we are put in our families for a reason. If we can learn to appreciate family, our days will be sweeter.

Life will have ups and downs, but siblings are there for the ride.

The good rides may lead to the trash.

Linking with Holley Gerth

Me a Leader?

You know those times God tells you something but you don’t believe it and He has to keep telling you? Those times He uses different people in different circumstances? Yeah, I must be a bad listener.

Here is what God is showing me: we are all meant to be leaders. He wants us to lead people in the right direction, toward Him. But guess what is also true? If we aren’t leading others TO God, we leading them AWAY from Him. We can think all we want that no one is paying attention to us, but that is a lie from the pit of Hell. Satan wants us to let our guard down and wade into the murky water to death and destruction. It just takes one questionable action at a time. “There is nothing wrong with what I am doing.” “The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong.” Before long, someone is saying, “Sarah is doing it. I can too.”

When I think about being a leader of something, I start the I’m nots. “I’m not good enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m not patient enough. I’m not smart enough.” I will always need God’s grace and power, but He wants to use me. To be honest, I like the excuses. They make me comfortable in my decision to sit back and do nothing. They give me the false illusion that someone else will come along and do it even though God tapped me. If I tell myself there is someone better qualified, I don’t have to feel guilty. But seriously, is there a better qualification than God Almighty asking me to step up? Who am I to doubt Him?

Someone else may be smarter/prettier/braver than me, but God had me in mind. His kingdom is fulfilled when I am obedient.

I know. Mind blowing.

Even if it scares the fool out of me, I want to lead people in the right direction. I don’t want to be the reason someone else stumbles or even thinks they are on the right path. I will never know who all is watching me, so I have to consciously show them the way to God. The alternative is unacceptable.

So, when you feel that tap on your shoulder, take that step. Trust God to make you what you need to be and lead. It may be leading one person or a large group, but it takes the same qualification. When God calls, say “Yes Lord, I will.”

Linking with Faith Along the Way

Magic of a Whoopee Cushion

Friday night, my girls received a whoopee cushion, which is arguably one of the best toys ever made. They gleefully put it on my seat before I got in the car. When I glanced down and saw it, I sat down as hard and dramatically as I could. The peals of laughter could likely be heard for miles. (Sorry to my in-laws’ neighbors.)

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Sunday night my oldest was trying a little too desperately to get me to sit on her sister’s bed. I indulged, but that little bugger would not deflate. I rolled back and forth and hopped around to no avail. We had to call in the big guns-Daddy. When HE couldn’t flatten it, we squeezed it by hand. Let me tell you it was still funny.

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Yesterday I was in my closet putting away laundry. When I came out, I caught my 6 year old trying to sneak it under my pillow. I told her to try again later since I caught her. They later succeeded.

I hope you are picturing this and laughing, because life is hard. There is so much evil and sadness in the world that it can easily swallow us if we let it. Therefore we must not let it. We must find the joy in life. When we find it, we cannot let go. Grab those moments and milk them for all they’re worth. Be silly. Laugh hard. Dance around the room. Sing loud.

All it takes to start is a 99 cent whoopee cushion.

Linking with Holley Gerth and Faith Along the Way