This was one of those weekends that went by really fast, was really good, and where I took approximately zero pictures. (I actually took one on Saturday.) Does anyone else feel that the mark of a great weekend is by how much you use your phone?
Graham was due to arrive at nine something Friday night, but the plane they were flying from Atlanta to Memphis on was grounded in Dallas for hours because of bad weather. Their plane didn't leave Dallas until ten something, and they boarded at one a.m. and landed by around two a.m. Needless to say, as much as I love my oldest son, I did not go pick him up. I asked if he would be mad if I stayed home, and he was fine with it. Todd took a car FULL of teenagers to greet him, though, and somehow, I think all of them made him more happy then he would have been with me. It's so fun seeing friends greet you when you've been away.
By the time people started stirring Saturday morning, I had washed, dried, and folded all of his laundry, and another load of ours. I was quite productive that morning, but after ten p.m., I am dead to the world.
On Saturday, I made a trek to my happy place.
I even stopped by the little used book store on the way in, found a book, and went to buy it, but they only take cash or check, and I had neither. Thankfully my friend Kathy who used to work at CES with me was there working that day, and she set it aside for me to come back and buy Tuesday, when they're open again. It's one that I have previously owned, that is part of a series, but it's now missing.
After this, I went to Kroger to buy the ingredients that I needed for that night. And then, later on that day, we went to a cookout for the youth ministry leaders. I made a double recipe of the mac and cheese that's homemade that my boys so love, and left without even a drop leftover. That was a fun night, seeing everyone, and some of the teenagers who belong to the leaders.
I spent yesterday at church, ending with a worship night last night. After the service, Todd, the boys, me, the Wolcotts, and Missy all went to La Hacienda for dinner. Plus a couple extra kiddos. It was a fun weekend, and I loved spending time with friends and family.
Today is my dear Missy's birthday! I am seeing her in a couple of hours.
Oh, the laughs we have shared. And the sticky situations....I love her so!
I am so thankful to God for her friendship, and know that we will be lifelong friends.
On a totally different note, I have something weighing on my heart this morning. It's funny that I am thinking of it today, because at one point in our church service yesterday, the guest preacher challenged all of us to ask God to examine our hearts, showing us any sin that needed to be confessed and repented of. My prevailing thought as I prayed was "words". (I didn't connect those dots until just now, when I typed that.)
I will confess here, that there are times when I seriously struggle with my words. I have to go back and apologize, all the time, for things I've said. One such time was last night, when we saw some friends at the restaurant. The young man that was there witnessed this of me Saturday night, and I had to say that I was so sorry for speaking a little too freely. I was not gossiping, but I was frustrated about something, and I let him catch the brunt of it all. Thankfully, he accepted my apology, and I will learn from that and not have a repeat. I know that if I'd not gone back and apologized, that my words could have messed with my testimony of how the Lord has changed me, and this is a young man who looks up to me in the faith.
I'm thinking of this again, though, because I keep hearing things from my kids, and some other people, about how some people they're close with are being mean with their words. As a mom, there is not much that is harder to watch than this. It could be words said TO them, about a situation, it could be something said about them to someone else, it could even be something said to them that is supposed to be "joking", but is not at all. It could be an outright lie, or it could be harbored bitterness over something that happened a long time ago. They've experienced it all lately. I have a solution for this, though, and it is straight out of the word of God.
"No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29
I am preaching this one to myself, friends. Read the above paragraph when I had to go back and say how sorry I was for something said too freely. (I read foul language, and think of cursing, but really it's anything that is not building someone up.)
As believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to put off our old self and put on our new self. The old self is corrupted by deceitful desires (Ephesians 4:22), and our new selves are renewed in the spirit of our minds (which is by the reading of His word, Ephesians 4:23, Romans 12:1-2). We are to put off lying and we are to speak the truth (Ephesians 4:25), because as believers, we are members of one another. Paul even says in Ephesians 4:26 that we can be angry, but that we are not to sin. He follows that with saying that we aren't to let the sun go down while we're angry, which could give the enemy an opportunity.
My favorite part of this passage of Ephesians comes from the last verse, verse 32. and chapter 5, verses 1-2.
"And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ."
"Therefore, be imitators God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God."
I've learned many times in the last few years, that a lot of people will never apologize for something wrong they've done. My kids have seen this, I have seen this. The bible tells us in Colossians 3:12 that we are to be humble, though. That's why I have to always be one who goes back and admits when I've done or said something wrong. However, I am not most people. But read this, and read it again, if necessary. I am learning more and more, the older I get, that even if people do not apologize, you MUST forgive them. God forgave us when Jesus died for our sins, therefore, we MUST forgive.
He has been working on my heart about this topic of forgiveness. There was something that happened to me twenty years ago that I've been harboring bitterness about. I am working on this continually, and committing it to God over and over again, and He is working on my heart.
To my kids, I give this same advice. They cannot control other people, only themselves, and how they act in hard situations. They are to always, always, always be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. (All of of those are from Colossians 3:12.) I always say to them that they should act in a way that if anyone ever said anything bad about them, others wouldn't believe it. (That doesn't usually happen, though.) Sometimes they heed that advice, and other times they fight back with words. They've learned to own up to it, though, and will often go back and apologize. I am thankful for the fact that God worked on their hearts in that area of humility.
As I was talking this out with a trusted friend last week, she reminded me that we are to also give grace to others.
I am writing this to myself, and to my boys. We have to first learn to do this for ourselves, and with the Lord's help. I pray that for anyone else reading this, that you're challenged by the words from the bible that I wrote out. I am so thankful that I have the living, breathing word of God to live by. It truly contains everything I need pertaining to life and godliness within the pages.
Thanks for reading. Love to all.