Fences and Gates

Fences and Gates, they have been around for ever.  Generally they are used to keep live stock in a certain parameter so not to wonder off and the owner loose that investment.   But they have been used for many other reasons.   Whatever reason one would use fences and gates, the goal is to keep something in and keep something out.   That is why it’s such a good visual for boundaries.

Boundaries in my life have helped me visualize what is my responsibility and what is the responsibility of others.    If the situation lies within my property lines, it’s my responsibility to take care of it.  My body is my personal property line. My actions and my behaviors fall within that boundary.

Fences and gates help me determine who or what I want to keep out of my area.  It helps me understand what or who to say NO to so the ungodliness and worldly desires of my own are kept at a distance.  It also helps me keep those out that cause me harm.  This helps me be a good steward of what He has given me. My self!

Fences and gates are also help me determine who or what I want to allow in to my area.  People who challenge me to be better.  People who love me and want to support me in my Godly and personal desires for my life.   It helps me see the good and know when to say Yes to the things God would have waiting for me. My God created, perfectly loved self!

Fences and gates also help me see where I’m crossing the line into someone else’s boundary.  Helps me encourage them to carry their own load and be responsible for their stuff but in that it also helps me see where I am consciously or unconsciously wanting to pick up their load for them.  Or in some cases, where I have over powered their personal boundaries with forms of manipulation and control.

Regardless of why it is we have those fences and gates, our boundaries, they are there and given by God to help us lead a better and more loving life.

Titus 2:12

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

Some would say that fences and gates, my boundaries, are selfish but that simply isn’t a true statement.  Boundaries are not walls, they are simply fences with gates in them.  Without the gates I would keep the bad inside.  Allowing no room to open up and confess my sin and hurts so that I can be forgive by God and others and find healing.  They are also necessary so that I can open up the gate and allow Jesus into my heart and others into my life.  The gate is a vital part of my boundary.  Allows the good in and keeps the bad out.

So explore those boundaries and allow God to show you when you should open and close the gate.

Boundary Book on Amazon

Lord, You have shown me boundaries and has changed my life.  Thank you for bringing me Jesus so I would know the forgiveness and restoration needed to heal from the boundaries that have been crossed in my life.   I pray Lord that others would seek that same healing.  Amen.

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Humility

Philippians 2:3-11

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. …

James 4:6

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

 

Humility, this is a hard one. We all want to be humble but sometimes that takes us to a place of being prideful that we’re so humble.  Does that make sense?   We’re so proud of the fact that we are humble that we actually become NOT humble.   I catch myself doing that sometimes.  I catch myself doing exactly what Philippians 2 tells me NOT to do, count myself more significant than others and look to my interest over others.  Am I alone in this?   In James 4, pride is something that God opposes but yet he gives grace to the humble.  I think for me humility is a constant self inventory of my behavior and thoughts throughout the day.   Just being aware of how He would view them.  Not so much that my every focus is on it because that’s when pride can creep in but making little changes as I become aware of them.  I absolutely may be rambling and making no sense at all but surely I can’t be alone in this quest for humility.

Now for the reason I choose the picture I did for this post.  I was at CR (Celebrate Recovery) tonight and the lesson was on Victory.  Part of the Victory is turning over our character defects to God and with that turning over comes the start of humility.  So in the lesson it was stated:

Humility is like Underwear! 

Yes, I had this confused look on my face I’m sure.

Then it was said:

You can have it but you don’t have to let it show.

And I laughed out loud!

How clever is that????????????

You might not see the humor in it but I hope you understand that to count others as more significant than ourselves and to look to their interests more than ours is something that God finds favor in.  Just as in finding Victory you must, voluntarily submit, identify your defects, change your mind, turn over those defects, take one day at a time, recovery is a process and you must choose to change then and only then will Humility be a natural part of who you are.

Lord, I ask you to help me choose to Not count equally with You but take the form of a servant.  Amen!

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Repentance

It’s me again with a little bit of “Boundary” talk.  It it so confusing.  Boundaries are good for me but harmful to others, are they?  Boundaries are selfish, really?  Boundaries are just a way to get what I want and not give the other what they want, right?  All though the end result of setting boundaries may appear to say YES to all the above questions, that is not what they are intended.  They are a form of protection.  People we love and say they love us do not always accept our boundaries and causes harm to us.  Sometimes we use manipulation to get what we want from others and in that case we are stepping over their boundaries even if they don’t know what boundaries are.  Then we have the struggle of how to forgive someone that has harmed us.  Should we allow them immediately back into our lives?  The answer to this is a tough one. It depends what type of harm they have or could cause.  But it’s safe bet that they should show steps of repentance and show proof that they want to stay on that path.    Is it wrong to forgive them but say no to them being part of our life?   Well, it’s never wrong to forgive.  Forgiveness is not about the other person, it’s about us.  So always forgive!   And in some instances allowing them to be a part of our lives is just not a possibility.

Below is a snip it of what Henry Cloud says about Repentance:

Repentance means someone has had a change of mind about their behavior and shows it by changing direction. They turn around and do things differently. Their turnaround may have missteps in it, but you can usually see whether someone has changed or not. If someone is really sticking to the plan and fails and then repents and gets back into the plan, be patient. If repentance has no change of direction, go back to setting limits. 

You can be patient with some things while they are being resolved without giving the other person freedom to hurt you. Patience doesn’t mean that you let down your boundaries. Some things, such as physical or drug abuse, are too hurtful and dangerous to be around to just forgive and forget. Forgive and remember to be careful while you are being patient. With less serious things, if the pattern is being addressed, forgive and forget. 

Here’s a snip it of what the bible says about it.

Acts 3:19

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Acts 2:38

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.j

So all this to say.  Love others but love yourselves too.  Forgive doesn’t always mean forget.

Lord thank You!   Amen!

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Lay it Down

I think God maybe trying to tell me something.  I meet with a couple women in two different meetings one day this week and the same word came from both of them.  The circumstances of why He told them this word was different but the impact was the same.

Basically:  When we continue to cry out to Him in anxiety over and over about the same thing or when our worry is overtaking our every thought.

He says to us, “I’ve got this! Stop worrying!”  and “You’ve lifted them up, now it’s time to lay them down!”

All we can do is Pray, Give it to Him and Trust He’s handling it.  Whether I’m praying for a friend, family, finances, whatever,  I tell Him about it and lay it down at His feet.   Man if I’d learned that a long time ago, there would have been a lot let sleepless nights.

So going back to God trying to tell me something.  I’m thinking, “have I been worrying?” about something specific.  Have I been talking to him over and over about a certain situation to the point of running out of words, hoping that the more I talk the quicker He’ll move?  I can say it with an emphatic “YES”!  I need to be okay just being okay and trusting that in His time it’ll all be good.  When I obsess about something, I usually act in hast and the outcome is never as good as it would be if I’d just trusted in His timing.

1 Peter 5:7 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:6 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

If you are reading this, I pray that you also will let this word speak to you.  Lift them up and then lay them down.  Whatever “them” are!

Lord I’m so grateful that you have given me Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help me walk through this life.  I ask you to help me to wait on You.  I ask you to give me a calm spirit.  I pray that I will remember these words that you have given me.  Amen!

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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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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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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!

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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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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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Wandering

My life has been a long walk down a path, wandering, seeking, searching, striving for something. That wandering has found happiness and sadness. That wandering has placed me in situations that have proven to be God sent and some to be driven by Satan. That wandering has left me fulfilled and empty. And I wonder where this wandering is going to land me now.

wan·der·ing : traveling aimlessly from place to place
won·der : desire or be curious to know something
Do I have any control of my wandering? Can I master the art of wandering to land me in a place of calling?
Seems lately that everything I pick up to read/study is leading me to these questions. Steering me in a direction of the unknown. Making me wonder if there could possibly be more. More to me! More that I have to offer! More He desires for my life! More He is asking me to do!

Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Am I wandering in a manner worthy of the calling to which I have been called?

Now I know that in whatever situation/vocation/place that I’m in, I can use the gifts for which I’m given. I can love those around me and I can show HIS love to them but is that solely my calling. To love where I am! Yes, I believe it’s my calling to love where I am but is that solely my calling.

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Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

The fine line between being content and wandering is narrow. Am I walking on that fine line and afraid to jump either way. Obviously I want contentment in my life and I have it in a lot of ways but there is still that nudge, that small voice that won’t leave my mind that says, “Is it enough?” “Do you hear ME calling you for more?” “Are you willing to jump?” And I want to answer NO! Yes! Maybe!

I’m finding that moving from wandering to wonder and back again is exhausting. But when you know, you just know, that what you’re doing each day is not the irrevocable calling that God has for you, you just can’t stop wandering. Eventually I’m going to have to jump in with both feet.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

But I wonder, “what is my calling, my purpose?”. Am I doing it? Do I have what it takes? Well 1st off, God has given me what it takes! I have to seek out the guidance of the Holy Spirit to guide me to my calling, my purpose. Be open to hear His words and see the doors being opened. Then It’s up to me to do it!

1 Corinthians 12:7-10 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

What has he gifted me with? I was lead to an exercise from listening to a book by Dan Miller called “Doing what you love in 48 Days”. It suggested having those that know you best tell you what they see as your gifts and then find the common denominator. If you’re in tune enough with yourself then that common denominator will reinforce what you’ve been hearing the Holy Spirit tell you.

Now what do I do with that information?

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Do I simply continue wandering? Or do I take that 1st step and trust?

2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.I say to myself, “Just take that 1st step Rhonda.” I hear Him say “Trust me!” So I’m getting off that wandering path. I will continue to be content in my current purpose while seeking out in WONDERMENT where it will lead me.

I don’t think God really cares about what path I take. But He does care that I’m doing everything I can, with the gifts that He has given me and with the purpose that He has instilled in my soul to love others, bring them to Him and give Him the glory for it all!’

 

I say to myself, “Just take that 1st step Rhonda.” I hear Him say “Trust me!” So I’m getting off that wandering path. I will continue to be content in my current purpose while seeking out in WONDERMENT where it will lead me.

I don’t think God really cares about what path I take. But He does care that I’m doing everything I can, with the gifts that He has given me and with the purpose that He has instilled in my soul to love others, bring them to Him and give Him the glory for it all!’

Pray with me please as I seek and wonder where I will be lead.

Lord, I know you have a plan. I know that your plan will happen in your time. I also know that I have to do my part. Please Lord give me the courage to Jump! Help me to trust You! Help me to be still so that I can hear You! Help me to move when You say move! I’m seeking Lord and I will find You! Amen!

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Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.I say to myself, “Just take that 1st step Rhonda.” I hear Him say “Trust me!” So I’m getting off that wandering path. I will continue to be content in my current purpose while seeking out in WONDERMENT where it will lead me.

I don’t think God really cares about what path I take. But He does care that I’m doing everything I can, with the gifts that He has given me and with the purpose that He has instilled in my soul to love others, bring them to Him and give Him the glory for it all!’

Pray with me please as I seek and wonder where I will be lead.

Lord, I know you have a plan. I know that your plan will happen in your time. I also know that I have to do my part. Please Lord give me the courage to Jump! Help me to trust You! Help me to be still so that I can hear You! Help me to move when You say move! I’m seeking Lord and I will find You! Amen!

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I say to myself, “Just take that 1st step Rhonda.” I hear Him say “Trust me!” So I’m getting off that wandering path. I will continue to be content in my current purpose while seeking out in WONDERMENT where it will lead me.

I don’t think God really cares about what path I take. But He does care that I’m doing everything I can, with the gifts that He has given me and with the purpose that He has instilled in my soul to love others, bring them to Him and give Him the glory for it all!’

Pray with me please as I seek and wonder where I will be lead.

Lord, I know you have a plan. I know that your plan will happen in your time. I also know that I have to do my part. Please Lord give me the courage to Jump! Help me to trust You! Help me to be still so that I can hear You! Help me to move when You say move! I’m seeking Lord and I will find You! Amen!

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