Friday, December 28, 2012

A Heart Exchange

I was a woman of courage a few days ago! I decided to brave the crowds, search endlessly for that perfect parking spot and see for myself if there were really any great deals that I couldn't resist. Although I found a few here and there, what I kept noticing was the mass of amounts of people who seemed to be returning or exchanging gifts they had received.

As I stood in line to ring up what I considered to be my gem of a find, I could not help but overhear the lady in front of me telling the sales associate that she would like to exchange the beautiful watch she had received, but simply did not need, for a pair of small earrings, and to please put the remaining balance on a gift card that she could give to someone else.

She finished up and was smiling big as she walked away! I watched her take the earrings out of the bag and proudly put them on before she even left the store. I saw the watch sitting there that she had exchanged, and I knew the monetary value of it. I was in awe of that lady at that moment. I thought she had just made a great exchange! And it had nothing to do with the gift! She seemed more than happy to give up that big, flashy, expensive watch for a small, simple pair of earrings and a gift card that she could pay forward. She was content!

I couldn't stop thinking about that woman and her willingness to exchange the big for the small...or what the world would view as such. I thought about what would I be willing to exchange or replace to have that contentment and peace that I saw her walk away with. Maybe it wasn't a material item that I would need to exchange, but instead an exchange in my heart. 

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way.--Psalm 139:23-24

When is the last time you got down on your knees and ask God to help you examine your heart and maybe do a little exchanging to get rid of that heaviness that is weighing you down? What would set you free and bring you that peace and contentment? Perhaps bitterness for forgiveness, anger for gladness, hate for love, acceptance for judgement, or sorrow for joy. Whatever it is, ask your Heavenly Father to help you let it go, to help you make that exchange.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 

As I continue to clean out or make exchanges in my own heart I feel so much more of God's love filling in the vacant spaces where pain used to live. A heart filled with God's love beats the strongest!

Start today by making one heart exchange. Ask God to help remove those things that take up the space where He longs to be. Free yourself from the bondage of whatever it is that keeps you from being happy, whole, and healed. He is waiting to take that burden from you right now. 

"A clean heart is a happy heart...." Mother Teresa

I pray God blesses you all beyond measure in the upcoming year. Thank you for your continued love, support and encouragement for me and my family. 



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Repost: Someone Else's Shoes

Repost from 12-11-12

Several weeks ago I was on the hunt to find that perfect pair of shoes at a reasonable price for the holidays. After trying on several different pairs I thought I had finally found the perfect ones. I slipped them on, stood up, took a few steps and after wobbling a bit from the very high heel I looked at the associate and said "I can't even walk in these" she chuckled and proudly responded by saying "I could walk a mile in those shoes!" Of course she was twenty-something.

I thought as I left without any shoes that day how I really liked the way those shoes looked, but the fit just wasn't quite right and how there was something so comforting about slipping back into my shoes, no matter how worn or scuffed they may have been. They were my good ole sturdy stand by's that I had put many miles on. Those shoes had walked me through a lot of pain. They may not had been new and glamorous, but they were warm and familiar. They had walked me through hospitals, doctors offices, and even down the halls of Hospice to say good bye.

At times many of us may wonder what it would be like to walk in someone else's shoes, if only for a day. I think we have the capability of doing that to a degree when we walk along side of our brothers and sisters in Christ encouraging, praying and loving them through their pain. Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. There is no greater way to walk in someone else's shoes than to be able to understand and help them through their pain. At my age I don't meet many widows, but when I do there is a level that we immediately connect on. I know they get it! They understand that sorrow in my heart like no one else can.

Metaphorically speaking, when we walk in someone else's shoes it should always be to help them and never to judge them.  Don't waste the chance to help someone out of the pit by thinking you could do things better or different, but instead just embrace them and love them unconditionally. Jesus commands in John 13:34 "Love one another as I have loved you." Simply love them through their pain just as Christ does for you.

It is like God is preparing our hearts through the trials to be able to walk in any shoes and to see others just as He does. Sometimes our shoes can become too comfortable and we get so caught up in our problems causing us to miss that unique opportunity to reach out, befriend, and help someone else. Yes,  you can actually use your struggles and pain to help others and in that process heal yourself. Often you will hear people refer to life as a journey. Our shoes should be solid, stable, and have a thick enough sole to endure miles of what could be a very long and painful journey. That's the strength God provides us. He is our stability, the Healer of our hearts and soul, and He walks beside us every step of the way. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

So the next time you put on your favorite shoes, think about someone else--a friend, neighbor or family member-- that is struggling this season. Step out of those shoes and go walk with them in theirs. You may be just the person God has chosen to walk them right out of the darkness into His Light. 

Blessings Always,