Boundaries

Anyone that knows me, they know that I am a firm believer of having good boundaries.  When I first started studying boundaries, I thought it was going to prepare me on how to control and fix everyone else or at least how to teach them how to treat me.  And in some ways it did teach me how to allow people to treat me but mostly it taught me how to treat others.  I only thought I was doing it right!

If you haven’t ever read the book “Boundaries: When to say Yes and How to say No” by Townsend and Cloud , I would highly suggest it.  If you can find a small group in your area that would be willing to study it along with you that would be even better.  Either way, don’t delay.  It can change your life!

I had a foundation of Jesus in my life, so understanding how HE loved me and how HE loved others was just solidified by the words in the boundaries book.

I frequently get emails from Henry Cloud about boundaries and I love this one……

Don’t confuse acceptance with agreement.

When you’re in the middle of a growth process, and you start to open up and be vulnerable, you may feel persecuted and wrongfully judged when you start to get feedback from others. You think that criticism proves you aren’t accepted, and you may be in a situation where you feel rejected. You say to yourself, “That church/group/counselor is so unaccepting of people. I need to find a place where there is grace.”

While some criticism can be judgmental, direct loving criticism is a necessary part of growth. In fact, where there is no confrontation, growth is seriously hampered. At the same time, agreement and acceptance are not equal. You can and should be in an environment in which both total acceptance and clear honesty are operating when honesty comes from love.

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Lord thank You for being patient with me and leading me to knowledge that makes my life better. Help me be the light that shines to help other find You.  Amen!

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1 CORINTHIAN 13

#fmf

1 Corinthians 13 (click here)

Only if we all would live by these standards.

Lord help me love even when love is not being shown.  Help me love as you love.  Help me show the love that Paul writes about in Corinthians.

LOVE IS

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Write your Story

Have you have lived and had experiences? Your life is worth sharing!

I am looking for women who are willing to be vulnerable allowing others to know they are not alone. Give hope!! bigstock_Notebook_Paper_3453328

Future

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

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Do His Will

Hebrews 13:21

Equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

What is too far?

I’m an introvert and it takes all I have to put myself out there.  So when I’m told “You always take one step beyond, where I would stop”, I wonder , how far is too far?  And the codependent in me wants to rear it’s ugly head. Stepping out there or “diving in” is difficult for an introvert and is challenging for a codependent to have the right motivator.  But I must do it!

I never feel equipped enough for the challenge that is put in front of me.  Now, I know my talents, organization & determination.  I know my gifts, compassion & empathy.  But when it comes to putting them all into practice with other people, that’s where “just diving in” is difficult.

There is usually 1 motivator that keeps us from “diving in”, “doing His will” and that is fear.  Fear I won’t know what to say when asked a question.  Fear I will push someone away.  Fear I will be misunderstood.  But what if I’m able to bring Glory to God by “saying, well I don’t know but we can find out together”, by reaching out and allowing someone to take my hand, or by knowing God has equipped me and He will protect me. So What if I simply dive in and let Him work through me.

The Breakup Song by Francesca Battistelli

So, I’m gonna keep taking that “one more step”.

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

We all fall short and have sinned.  We all say things that maybe should have been tempered differently.  But if my motivator is LOVE and bringing others to Him then I say “DIVE IN”.  Because HE has equipped me and I desire to bring Him the Glory.

Lord, help me be brave. Amen!

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Way

#fmf

As a child I was told how I should act, where to go and who I was to be with. I aged and there became more freedoms of the way I would go.  What friends I would hang out with, what I would do with those friends and how I would treat them.  I definitely didn’t choose the right “way” all the time.

Luke 15:24

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Then my I found Jesus but I was accustom to finding my own way.  I met the man of my dreams, married him, had 2 children and began building a life and that life was stripped away from me.  I had to find a new “way”.

I began searching for God’s way but I still held on to those freedoms of choosing my own “way”.  I remarried too quickly, without consult from my FATHER and my way was proving to be the hard way.  Twelve years later I find myself seeking the way again.  Not because it had been stripped away but because my way wasn’t working.  I prayed, I waited, I cried, I got angry, I was sad but I stayed steadfast in my seeking His way.

John 14:1-31

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” …

I had to find that place, that place where I could give way to my way and let it be His.  He was patient with me.  He was full of grace and compassion and love.  He showed me how to have the same.  He showed me that He is never too far from me and if I seek He will show me the way.

Acts 17:27

That they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,

Lord, there is no way that I can show You how grateful I am.  But I will surely try all of my days.  Amen!

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Weakness is a Good Thing

23622376_10213016744707575_4939270649050233599_nAnnie Sotski: This is one spunky little momma!  She almost always has a smile on her face and sweet words to say.  I say “almost” because she also is not afraid to tell you when she is hurting.   She is willing to be vulnerable within her deepest pains and and widest valleys, sharing how God has rescued her through it all.  She does “momma” well.  Loving her husband and kiddos with all her soul.  She also loves others with all her soul.  Able to show love to them and walk with them with a steady arm to hold and gentle voice, reminding them WHO they can depend on.  She’s an oily woman too!  Loves those oils and natural remedies for everything.  I am blessed to call her friend and fellow servant.

Weakness is a good thing. John 3:30 says “He must increase but I must decrease.”

My name is Annie.  I had a plaque on my wall growing up that said it means “gracious one” but I had no clue what that really meant until recently.  I’m not sure we can give grace until we receive it.

Life as a child was sweet and protected. I always knew Jesus and even had many chapters of the Bible memorized at a young age. My parents raised me in the Word and I was baptized at five. I remember being filled with the Holy Spirit as a teenager. I spent time on mission trips and church camps and Bible study…all the things a Christian is supposed to do. BUT, I had to learn in many hard ways that I was just a jar of clay that holds the treasure and not the treasure myself. My pride had to die. All my righteous deeds were like filthy rags.

My testimony is a story of the Father’s grace and His patience as He has and continues to mold me into a woman after His heart. Like I said, God had a hold on me from a very young age. I never really knew what it was like to not believe in Him. I also learned early on to be independent and strong. Being the oldest of seven children with parents who raised us against the grain, gave me firm foundations and high expectations. I had dreams of saving the world. Combine the pride and confidence and knowledge of what was right and true and I was destined to fall. Hard. Even my spiritual gifts are knowledge and discernment. Not using them the right way makes me a judgemental know-it-all. Thankfully, Jesus started working gradually and he sent people and circumstances to chisel and mold.  My mouth got me in trouble many times. At one point, mom had me write down and memorize James chapter 3. Oh the deadly poison of the tongue! My youth pastor sat me down and taught me that words hurt and relationships are far more important than being right. It has taken years to fully understand and apply that.29511477_10213980157632296_7086713042562182451_n

Even when I started to control my tongue and outward pride, I had a habit of trying to fix people. Friends, college roommates, boyfriends… all became my projects to save. Two big relationships happened within a couple of years apart in my early 20’s. My college roommate/friend decided she was in love with me. She saw me as her rescuer because of how much I had done for her. I was engaged at the time to my first husband and thankfully he was my way out of that relationship. My marriage then ended in divorce several years later because my ex-husband became mentally ill and left because he couldn’t handle the responsibility of marriage and fatherhood. I had tried to fix him, too, and the guilt was overwhelming. By 27 I was a single mom without friends. I had to move back in with my parents and start over. Even though I was angry at God for a time, He never gave up on me and has used the brokenness in my life. He didn’t let the bitterness, anger and calluses stay, but I had to see that He was the saviour, not me.

Fast -forward to now. I have come to the realization that I have a long list of broken relationships. Not just the two I mentioned. Some from trying to save people in my own strength and not being able to. Some from conflict and differences of opinion that I was too inept at working through. Some just from God’s grace in protecting me. It is a hard realization. I have spent many hours on my knees in repentance and prayer. I have prayed Psalm 51 with intention, even using hyssop like king David did. I want to move forward in the call on my life to love people in whatever way that looks like. When Isaiah saw the Lord in his holy temple and cried out because he was a man of unclean lips, the angel touched his lips with coal and said “your sin is atoned for.” (Isaiah 6) My sin is atoned for. I have to put the past behind me, but that means working through many painful memories. Your sin can be atoned for, but the damage can still be there, even hidden in your physical body. Thankfully, God is the gracious one, not me. He is faithfully patient and consistently kind. Release and surrender to Him are my choices. I am willing to go and sin no more.15844228_10210353186120275_7538725651364315894_o

Recently, a friend prayed that those old injuries and memories causing damage would come out. God has brought me through a cleansing process that has included my spirit, my emotions and my body. I had real breakthroughs with some physical pain and emotional blocks because I worked on them together as He brought to mind the past. I could deal with old hurts that had been buried in a gradual and complete way. Part of the process is what lead me to see the string of broken relationships. What has been amazing is that God has now given me opportunity to heal and restore some of those relationships. He is creating a new pattern. It isn’t even as hard as I imagined it would be. When the joy of the Lord is your strength, you can easily part waters and move mountains.

Now, I am working with a young lady that isn’t a Christian and mentoring her through some very difficult times. I have good boundaries in place and know I can’t save her or be her Holy Spirit. I’m just here to be Jesus’ hands and feet and intercede in prayer for her. That’s quite a change from 20 years ago when I walked out my door to save the world. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has sent me to bring good news, bind up the broken and proclaim liberty to the captives. (Isaiah 61) The Truth is what sets people free. All I have to do is abide in the Word and know the truth. (John 8) Now I am a sower of the Word and people can call me Annie, “gracious one”. I bring grace because it was given. I’m just a transparent jar of clay that holds a treasure beyond compare. May I overflow to all around me.

Lord, I am grateful! I am grateful to not only provide for my physical needs but you provide for my emotional needs through other women like Annie.  Help me be that for others.  Amen!

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Different

I love my flowers!  Doesn’t matter what shape, what color or what size, the more different they are, the more I love them.  So when, in my full bed of only Zinnias, this lovely Sunflower popped up from who knows where, I was thrilled.  I could not hardly wait for it to open it’s beautiful face.  Isn’t that a lovely sight of 1 tall, large, solid yellow pedaled face in my sea of varied colors?  That reminded me of how it feels to be totally different.

I remember as a child, an even into adulthood, I wanted to be like the other. Smart, petite, cheer leader, drum major, basketball player, track runner, who ever and whatever it was that drew in all the attention.  Or at least all the attention that I wasn’t getting.  The one that everyone thought was “lovely”.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

And then………… I found Jesus.  I would love to say that the second I popped out of that water I was healed of those desires,  but it took me a minute or two or 26,280,000 Minutes (50 years).  I’d love to say that I’m healed of that desire today but not totally.  I’m better today than I was yesterday.  I’m learning and grasping that He made me perfect, just being me.  And this “me” can be different than every other and still be lovely.  Please understand that I’m now not talking about surfacy lovely either.  I’m talking about rather what’s deep within.  I have attained the knowledge that His love for me is greater than any love that is of this world.  I am lovely in my “different” to Him.  And in that different that He created me, I find value in the my “different” in a sea of others.

Romans 12:6

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

It took me a while to figure out what my gifts are and I’m still learning.  It has also taken me a while to figure out how HE wants me to use them and He’s still showing me.   The thing is my gifts aren’t like every one-else’s and I love that.  I truly enjoy being with others that are different than me.  It challenges for to look beyond my box.  It challenges for to dream beyond my dreams.  My box and my dreams are special to me but those whose are different than mine are too! Different is good!

Mr. Holland Opus – click to watch

1 Corinthians 12:20

As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

It took me longer than it should have to realize that my husbands different in our home workings was valuable.  I wanted my home to work as I thought it should.  But our thinking isn’t the same and I’ve learned that that can be very beneficial.  Also in the working world different is good.  We each have tasks that we can accomplish when other may struggle with them.  Any business needs organizational people, techie people, analytical people and so on to get the job done. To run a business you have to have different.  Some goes for the church, it’s almost impossible to meet every need there is anyway but if we all thought the same, worked the same, had the same passion then there would be a gap in the serving of the church and the community that it belongs to.  We all are different for a reason.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Ultimately we are all different but we all have one thing that is the same, we all sin and fall short of the Glory of God.  Thank you to Jesus who covers that same!

Lord, Thank you for loving me as I am and loving my neighbor as they are. Amen!

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DONE

#fmf

When we are using the word done, it denotes finality.

In Genesis when God created the heavens and the earth, the light and the dark, the water and the land, and all living creatures then Adam and Eve, then on the 6th day he said, “It is Good”.  He was done and he rested on the 7th.

There has been many times that I have used the word “done” to denote finality with something I was doing.  Way too many to count, some of them had happy endings and some were a sorrowful new start but regardless, I was “done”.

I’m grateful that God is never done with me.  And I have given Him plenty of reason why He should be.

2 John 1:2

because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever

I’m grateful that I can wake up, mess up and start again everyday and He will never be done with me as long as I continue to seek Him.  Walking each day striving to be all that He made me to be.  So I can look forward to one day saying “it is Done” and joining Him at His right hand in Heaven.

Thank You Lord for never being done with me.  Amen!

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Willingness to Listen

Proverbs 2:1-5

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

 

I have had a long period of being still and waiting.  I did it as self preservation to some point but I also did it because I came to a place of understanding that “I didn’t have all the answers and I knew someone that did”.  That someone was God.   To be still and wait was very difficult for a codependent/controller.  But life had become out of control and I needed some help.  In that process of stepping away from me and leaning more on God, I allow Him to work.  It allowed the Holy Spirit to take hold of me and enabled me to hear Him clearer.

Since that one long experience I have had many shorter runs in different situations and I can tell you from experience, it’s always worth the stillness and waiting.  God always comes through but only because I’m willing to step away from me and listen to Him intently.

I encourage you today to be Still, Wait and Listen.  Take away all your preconceived notions and allow Him to change your heart, mind and soul forever.

Thank You Lord for working in me.  It has changed my world for the better.  And for always.  Amen!

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