To The Ones With A Gentle Spirit

People get so mad.

About everything.

About that this isn’t a full sentence.

Like hate-filled, gossip about you, unfriend you, crucify you, plain and ugly, wish death on you, angry.

They do it about just ….well, about everything.

If you don’t like what someone likes or approve of what a group does, so SO MANY people (and it seems like more all the time) treat you as if they now choose YOU as an enemy.

Precious You, if you’re still reading this and you’re not already writing a hundred word essay about how wrong I am with this blog post, your gentle, warrior spirit is open and please know you’re not the enemy and hear that it’s not about you. Your gentle spirit is a fresh relief from the hostility to anyone with eyes to see. Thank you for being here.

It’s about “lovers of self.” It’s a Biblically prophesied-over, already expected, spiritual war.

And in the middle of it all: is a spirit of pride.

You know the situations I’m talking about.

It happens at work, school, home, in marriages, those you-better-be-at-the-next-family-reunion-or-else (dare I say) celebrations, stores, vacations, church, standing in line, post offices, coffee shops, hospitals, restaurants, wherever you feel led to serve, and everywhere else I didn’t think to mention.

And God tells us to avoid people who are behaving this way.

Check out what 2 Timothy 3:1-9 says about it.

Difficult Times Will Come.

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a FORM OF godliness, although they have denied its power; AVOID such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, ALWAYS learning and NEVER ABLE to come to the KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. BUT THEY WILL NOT MAKE FURTHER PROGRESS; for their folly will be obvious to ALL, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

(emphasis, mine.)

Read through that list again.

It’s insane how many of these words fit everyday situations.

The number of prideful, arrogant people — who have no Holy Spirit so they are able to show no grace — seems as if a giant Goliath and the grace-filled people with quiet strength for the battles seem like David.

(But we all know how that story goes. David defeated Goliath so there’s that.

1 Samuel 17:47-50

Verse 47

…All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, AND HE WILL give all of you into our hands.”)

Praise God for people who are after His own heart!

Acts 13:22

But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man AFTER MY OWN HEART. He will do everything I want him to do.’

David’s oldest brother was mad at him telling him he could not do what David KNEW he was there to do. His brother (Eliab) said his (David’s) heart was wicked, BUT GOD SAYS David was a man after GOD’S own heart! Praise God that he listened to what he knew he could do and did not listen to the ones who didn’t believe and who were jealous.

1 Samuel 17:28-32

When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

(And then even the king didn’t believe David could do what he knew he was there to do.

1 Samuel 17:33

Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know.)

 

Whatever unkind, without understanding or trying to see things from your side of the world, prideful ways people act toward you, aren’t your burdens to take on yourself.

These aren’t your behaviors and you can gently, gracefully respond (remembering a gentle word turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1.)

And you can boldly say, “NO, thank you. The way you’re talking to me isn’t going to be okay. Maybe we can try again another time.” (But maybe not. YOU get to choose. And I pray you find more healthy boundaries – and enforce them – all the time.)

Whether it’s something that has deeply hurt my feelings or feels as if it’s blocking me somehow from what I know in my spirit that I’m supposed to be doing, God has taught me to stop in the moment, just breathe, and (immediately remember to) ask Him 3 questions in every situation:

(Note: This works SO, so, so much better if I do this BEFORE I get my feelings in the way, but often truthfully it happens after something hurt my heart more than I’d like to admit… because I forgot that this life is not about me and yet again tried to make it about me… but 3 things are:)

Lord, what do You want me to LEARN from this?”

What do You want me to DO with this?”

How can I honor YOU in this?”

We get so offended too easily and take on other people’s angry pride as if it’s something we “should” carry. Because honestly people have become really good, experts even, at trying to make others absorb their unresolved junk in life that they have not (maybe purposefully and perhaps not so much) dealt with. It comes out as heavy artillery in our direction. Some days this is overt and MUCH of the time it’s covert. And people use a thousand different tactics to try to make you accept their stuff. (Rest in the Truth that God sees ALL of it and NOTHING is hidden from Him!)

But it’s not ours to carry.

And if we started to, we can lay it down.

We are to mourn when people mourn and rejoice when people rejoice. (Romans 12:15)

But to carry what they won’t hand over to God is not your responsibility.

It’s theirs.

Like a good coach or employer or father would do, God has purpose in everything He allows us to experience whether we’re too short-sighted sometimes to see it or not.

The next time someone does or says something that hurts you, I’m asking you to pray these 3 things because we have been PROMISED we can cast all our cares on Him.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast ALL your anxiety ON HIM

BECAUSE HE CARES for YOU.

Are you doing your part? Every day? Casting your cares?

Carrying that junk that others have been trying to pile on you is way heavy.

And it needs to go.

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An Open Letter to Divorced Parents at Christmas,

Hi. I’m Chloe and I’m 16. Divorce happened in my life when I was one year old.

This is the first Christmas I’m looking forward to. Any other year I couldn’t care less if tomorrow was Christmas and to be honest, I learned to dread all holidays.

Today I will be a voice for the four year old who doesn’t understand why this Christmas Mommy is not at Daddy’s house to open presents.

Little kids may not be able to speak out yet so I will for them.

I dreaded picking whose house I wanted to be at and dreaded the stress of hurting someone’s feelings that comes with it.

I also dreaded being forced to go to either house when I didn’t want to go.

My feelings matter.

Half a day here and half a day there is not fun. (And thankfully my parents did not make me do this.)

I dreaded presents I wouldn’t like but was told gift cards are tacky to ask for. They are not. Gift cards ARE okay to ask for.

I dreaded time with people who made me feel unwanted.

Divorce changes a family but not many people think of how the kid was affected.

You don’t “have” me or “get” me for Christmas.

You “get” chicken pox.

You “have” a rash.

You “have” to “go.”

You “got” a broken arm.

“I have my son for the holidays.”

What?

You don’t “have” him like you have a rash. You’re blessed to spend time with him this Christmas. And if you’re truly blessed to spend Christmas with him, then treat him like it.

And don’t let him feel the divorce was his fault. Don’t be fake, either. You’re the grown up and if you want your kid to be part of your family, too, then act like it and take the first step.

While I understand some kids with divorced parents act like they don’t care because they’re getting extra presents, some place underneath it all they actually do care and they’re hurting.

Most of the time I couldn’t care less about the presents because hurt and sad memories were attached to them. Because every time I see the game that was at the top of my wish list, I remember the tears of missing my mom, and of brokenness that went along with this present.

A lot of us feel hurt that Christmas isn’t “normal” (whatever normal is.) Or kids are sad that their family is broken. Or they feel like a bother because Christmas family vacations aren’t whole. Or they feel left out of family events. Being a kid is hard enough. Please don’t add stress of your divorce to my life.

The divorce was not my fault. And I should get to hear that. Often.

Contrary to what many kids from divorced parents think, I know it wasn’t my fault. But I still feel stuck in the middle – because I AM.

I’m stuck between Mom and Dad and words like “biological” and “step.”  (I’m SO done with the word “step.”)

I’m stuck between two homes.

I’m stuck between feelings of brokenness and extra love.

I already feel torn and broken that you guys aren’t married anymore so please don’t add to that by forcing me or guilting me into coming over. I didn’t ask for the divorce and I’m not the grown up.

I’m the little kid who is learning that happily ever after isn’t always true.

Just talk to me.

Even as little kids we understand a lot more than you think we do. Talk with me WITHOUT trashing the other parent. It is okay for me to love Mom and Dad and I can even love new parents and new siblings. God doesn’t limit or divide our love. He increases it.

I get it. You’re grieving.

I need time to grieve, too. Something died and it’s okay if I’m upset. Tell me it’s okay that I’m upset. I lost something too. I lost Christmas the way I wanted it to be.

Just love me today and spend time with me TODAY. Pray over me. Remind me it’s okay to love Mommy AND Daddy and all the rest of this messy family – because it IS okay and I should get to hear that.

I will be okay and you will be okay.

I will love you BOTH and anyone else I choose to love – and you need to be okay with that.

I am blessed to get to spend time at Christmas with two parents, even if at separate houses, who love me and are nice to (and about) each other.

A Note from Chloe’s Mom.

Sometimes there are things that we never would have thought of before divorce that are now real life for us.

Celebrating on “the actual date” doesn’t matter. You celebrate when you can and with the people who can be there.  And that’s okay.

You learn to accept that life looks different now – and that is okay. Even if other people don’t understand everything, that’s still okay.  We know that every situation is different.

You pray over your children and encourage them to enjoy time at the other parent’s house. Sure. Let them know you miss them but more people to love and care about any child in a healthy way is a good thing. It is okay for kids to enjoy Christmas at either house. I KNOW it’s rough. I spent many hours crying because holidays didn’t feel ….like holidays. In fact, I spent many hours crying over just missing regular, everyday life moments.

If you’re a single mom or dad, we know it’s tough. We’ve been there. A lot of presents aren’t necessary. Your time just hanging out and listening to your kids matters more. If the other parent can afford more presents, that’s okay. If not, that’s okay, too.

We will be okay and you will be okay.

We wish you a peaceful and stress free Christmas – however that looks at your house.

Love, Kerri and Chloe

 

[Note:  Unfortunately, there are many times a child should not be in the care of someone.  Please do pay attention if something seems unsettling.  Everyone involved in a divorce can probably benefit from counseling if needed. And prayers are ALWAYS helpful.]