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Here are some words of wisdom from Charles Spurgeon for you:

“He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows His God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case…When our virtues become more mature,…we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.” -Spurgeon

These words are kind of like a short sermon from Ephesians 4:32

“And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ sake hath forgiven you.”

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I am amazed each and every day, how good God is to Grace and I.

I love the fact that any problem or situation, no matter how large or how small can be taken to our heavenly Father, and He is bigger than the situation, bigger than our fears, and can do so much more than we can ask Him or even imagine He will do for us.

I say this not just because of the things I’ve seen God do in my life, but also because of the things I see Him doing in other people’s lives.  Let me explain a little more…..

A friend of mine shared a prayer request with me some time ago…..she was very burdened and concerned for her daughter.  Her daughter had grown up in church and claimed to have a relationship with God, but last year, she walked away.

She just up and left.  She left their church, family, and walked away from God.  She got involved in many things and with many people that she shouldn’t have.  This went on for over a year, she didn’t care what anyone had to say, she was going to do what she wanted to do.

My heart was burdened for this family.  I thanked my friend for sharing this with me and told her that I would pray for her to have wisdom, and for her daughter to turn back to God.

This seemed like a tall order.  Her daughter wasn’t showing any signs of change.  No signs that she even desired to return to her family, or to God.

At one point, she said her daughter told her, why bother?  She felt she had already messed her life up, so what was the point in even trying to please God?

My friend kept emailing me, we kept praying, and I kept encouraging her not to give up.

Then, last week, it happened.  I got an email from her that her daughter had attended some church services and turned her life back over to God.  She moved back with her family, and has been attending church services.  She’s making an honest attempt to repair her relationship with her family and most importantly, her relationship with God.

I’m not going to share her name with you, but please, pray for this girl and her family……she’s taken the first step, but she has a long road ahead of her.

I can tell you first hand though, that God can do it.  He can strengthen and empower her to walk with Him and can restore to her the joy of her salvation.

I share this with you not only because my friend and I are SO excited about what God is doing in her daughter’s life, but also because I want to encourage you.

If you know someone who has walked away from their relationship with God……please, keep loving that person, and don’t stop praying for them.  I can’t tell you how long it will take them to turn back to God, but I can tell you that He is there with open arms, just waiting for them to return, so don’t ever stop praying.

And if you’re reading this today and you have walked away from God, I want you to know that it’s never too late, you can turn back to Him.  Whatever it is you’ve done, God can forgive, and He can use your life to glorify Himself.  No matter what you may think, He’s standing there with open arms just waiting for you to come to Him.

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I wish my voice was as beautiful as Susan Boyle’s.

I wish I knew as much about the Bible as my friend Loren.

I wish I was as beautiful as my friend Carissa.

I wish I was as skinny as my sister in law.

I wish I was 5′ 7″

I wish my hair turned out good everyday.

I wish I could play the piano as good as several of my piano playing friends do.

I wish I could sing tenor like my friend Donna does.

I wish I always had the right words to say like my friend Patty does.

I wish I was as patient with Grace as my friend Star is with her 5 children.

But I am not any of those things, nor can I ever make myself be like anyone else.

I am Beth.  I have the voice that God gave me.  I am as tall as God made me.  I am as thin as I can be at this point in my life.  I don’t always have time to make my hair perfect in the morning.  I look exactly the way God intended me to look.  Things don’t always come out of my mouth the way I intend them to.  I am human, sometimes I yell at my child.  I work as hard as I can to take care of my little family, and sometimes that means I have dark circles under my eyes and my hair is thrown up in a pony tail.  I don’t have as much time to practice on the piano as I’d like to.  I am Beth.  I have to live my life, not Patty’s, Lorens, Carissa’s,  or any other of my friends’ lives. 

I cannot spend time or energy trying to be like someone else.  I can admire the gifts and the talents God gave them, but I can’t beat myself up because my voice isn’t like someone else’s, my hair isn’t like someone else’s, or I’m not as thin as someone else.  I have to be who God made me to be.  I have to use the talents that God gave me……I can work to improve them, but I can’t try to be like someone else.

I’ve found that when I listen to someone sing and think “I wish I could sing like they do.” or I look at someone I know and think “I wish my hair always looked as nice as their’s does.” I start beating myself up………every day that week I look at myself and think I’m having a bad hair day.  Everytime I sing during music practice, I cringe when I hear my voice comes out, I look in the mirror and think about how much more wieght that needs to come off (15 lbs).

Satan has a way of distracting us, making us our own worst enemy.  Giving us thoughts that we’re not good enough to serve God, not thin enough or pretty enough to find someone to marry, that we’re not good parents to our children, and on and on.  He will find ANYTHING he can to distract us and mess with our thoughts.

Paul said it best:

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
II Corinthians 10:12

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I read this the other day……

“90% of your problems can be solved with a good night’s sleep.”

That helps put things into perspective doesn’t it?

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I just finished reading “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” By Dr. Les Parrott III and Dr. Leslie Parrott.

The book has seven questions to ask before and after you marry, and it expounds on them. I really liked it how they tied things back to Biblical principles.

The seven questions are:

  • Have you  faced the myths of marriage with honesty?
  • Can you identify your love style?
  • Have you developed the habit of happiness?
  • Can you say what you mean and understand what you hear?
  • Have you bridged the gender gap?
  • Do you know how to fight a good fight?
  • Are you and your partner soul mates?

One of the  most helpful parts of this book is that it explains the male and the female side of  each section of the book.  We know that males and females are different, but I didn’t really understand how very different they are until I read this book, and it really helped me to understand some of the differences.

I’ve read a few other books by the Parrotts and have enjoyed them as well.  This is one book that I plan to read again.

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Have you ever met someone who is always negative? No matter what, it’s not going to work for them, it’s not good enough for them, or they just don’t like it.  These are the kind of people that if you gave them $1,000,000, they’d complain that it’s green and wrinkled…….

One time when I was about 8 years old, I asked my mom why people get crabby when they get old.  She told me that people don’t get crabby when they get old.  She said that old people who are crabby now were crabby when they were young too. ( She also told me that I should say elderly not old.) 

Her words have stuck with me to this day, and the message that went with it……..everyone has choices to make no matter what their circumstances are, you can choose to be nice to people, you can choose to be a happy person, you can choose to have a positive outlook even when things don’t go your way or bad things happen.

One time, I worked with a guy (we’ll just call him “Joe”)  Joe was the CRABBIEST, GROWLIEST, GRUMPIEST (if those are all real words) person I had ever met.  He was so negative and mean to everyone underneath him in the company.  To his peers and people above him in management he was nice (for obvious reasons such as he wanted to keep his job.)  When I started working there, everyone told me, “Watch out for Joe, he’s so grumpy to everyone.”  Joe was always nice to me as I was on the same level of management he was.   One day when I was coming out of the break room, I observed Joe being rude to an employee.  I followed him to his office and told him that what he said to the employee wasn’t nice at all and that he could find a better way to talk to employees without being rude to them. 

 He went on to tell me about how this employee had messed up, etc, etc.  I told him, “Joe, it doesn’t matter what they did wrong…. you don’t have to be a growly bear to everyone……you can be nice to people if you want to.”

Joe just looked at me like no one had ever told him that before…….and do you know what?  From that point on, Joe’s attitude was so different that the employees and other managers started making comments about how pleasant he was and Joe even got a promotion a few months later and continued to be nice to people. 

I don’t really think that what I said to Joe were magic words and I don’t know what thoughts my words sparked in his mind, but I know that Joe made a choice that day to stop being negative and not only did he choose to be positive, but he also chose to start being nice to people.  Joe was so much fun to work with after that and several employees later told me that after Joe’s attitude changed, he was one of their favorite managers to work with.

I know that we all go through things.  But really, everyone goes through things, not just you and me.  I’ve always held the position that what I’m going through right now is what God has for me at this point in my life.  Some times, we go through trials, and as a dear friend of mine said one time….”Trials come into our lives to teach us things, and if we don’t learn our lesson the first time we go through the trial, we’ll go through the trial again and again until we learn that lesson.” 

No matter what the trial or situation you’re going through is, God is with you…..you may not always feel like He is, but He is there for you, sometimes He walks with you, and sometimes, He’s carrying you.

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I’ve talked to a few single moms lately who shared that they feel a little left out now that they’re single moms.  It’s like when people you grew up with or went to college with find out that you’re now a single mom, they seem to translate this information the same as if you’d just announced that you have Leprosy.  Even sometimes new friends you make learn that you’re a single mom and they begin treating you differently. 

I took this information in, and decided to do some of my own research to see what the general public’s perspective is on single moms.  I turned to the internet since most of the people who post things on the internet do so with a screen name, and don’t reveal their identity.  People seem to not be as shy about stating their opinions when they do it under a screen name, so I felt I’d find out some good information this way.  So, do you know what I found?  I found that a lot of the people who posted comments about single moms said that it didn’t bother them if someone they knew was a single mom, but some people left comments like:

  • Single moms are obviously bad judges of character if they were with someone who was a jerk.
  • Single moms are a drain on society because we (taxpayers) pay for them and their children.
  • One blog entry I read actually listed 13 reasons to AVOID single moms.

I was a little bit surprised to find such judgemental and uneducated comments posted about single moms.  Let me address the comments one at a time…….

#1 Single moms are obviously bad judges of character if they were with someone who was a jerk.
-Could it be that the jerk they were with was a really good actor and was on his best behavior until they were engaged or married?  Could it be that the relationship for some reason just didn’t work?  Could it be that the person they were with lied and had another family?  Could it be that they were raped? Could it be that the person they were with died?

#2 Single moms are a drain on society because we (taxpayers) pay for them and their children.
-A statement like this is stereotyping single moms.  I know several single moms who do not receive public assistance, and I know two married couples that make three times more money than I do who receive WIC benefits because they have their child on state medical insurance.  (In our state, if your child receives a medical coupon, you automatically qualify for WIC until the child is 5.)

I was on public assistance for five months, (two months before Grace was born, and three months after she was born.)  I started working when she was three months old, called my case worker the same day I got a job and canceled my cash assistance and she said that she wanted me to transition off of food stamps for the next five months since formula and baby food are expensive.  But, I’ve also worked and paid taxes for nearly TEN years, so I don’t really think that being on public assistance for a few months when there was absolutely no other way we could have made it is a drain on society.

I believe that public assistance is there for when you REALLY need help, but it’s not there to live off of for generations and generations, that’s when it drains society.  I made the decision to end public assistance as quickly as possible after Grace was born, and not sign up for WIC benefits, (even though we still quailfy for them since I buy Grace’s health insurance from the State.) because there are so many other people out there who NEED the assistance.  If I applied for public assistance and qualified for it, but we didn’t need the assistance, that would be a drain on society.

#3 One blog entry I read actually listed 13 reasons to AVOID single moms.
 -The entire blog entry showed how uneducated the author is on a variety of subjects, so I’m not even going to make statements about this one.

Really, what I’m getting at here is that you can’t judge someone for what has happened in their life.  You also can’t steryotype people.  What happened happened, and they can’t go back and change it.  Another thing that most people don’t even think about is that single moms are not taking the “easy way out”  they chose to give life to their child, and that’s a life long commitment.   Sometimes, I think that people need to step out of their “comfort zone” and get to know people who’s life situations are different from their own so they can be a little bit more open-minded.

No matter what situation someone is in, single parenting, divorce, getting out of prison, recovering from addicitons, or any other situation you may know someone in, remember that you don’t know, nor do you need to know all of the details.  What happened happened, and no matter how much they’d like to, they can’t go back in time and change what happened.  What they need is your friendship, your support (including them on activities, prayer, I’m not talking about financial support.) and your encouragement.

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