What it means to Cultivate your Life…
Over the history of my life, I have had friends come and go in my life. I hate when friends drift apart or that we move on. It’s painful for me to leave others behind, but as I grow in who I am, I know that friends are part of my journey.
One of the hardest things for us to acknowledge is when we are wrongly accused. You know the truth, and you want so badly to justify yourself. You want so badly to prove the others wrong and be in the right. Continue reading
I don’t do guilt trips. I am a busy mom, wife, entrepreneur, minister, and all the other things crammed into my amazing full life. As much as I love to give my time and energy into doing things for people, I will not perform from guilt or shame. My goal is to love the best I can and sometimes I have to say no. Sometimes, I have to choose who I can help and when. Although I would love to do it all. ( and I would), for the sake of my sanity, I need to decline. That is ok. I love better when I get to be me. But please don’t try to get me to live according to your needs or standards. Please don’t try to persuade me to do something because you feel entitled. I can no longer live like that. In pursuit of my best life and a life full of joy, I choose to continue to love you and others well because, I give my time and energy from love not for it. ❤️#cultivateyourlife #guilt #shame #empowerment #moms #wives #love #joy #lifestyle #peace #jesus
So this post is dedicated to all my faithful friends. Those who in the past year have encouraged me cried with me and loved beyond belief. These are the people who I always want in my corner. Continue reading
I woke up this morning at 4am. This seems to be my usual wake up time lately. With lots going on in my mind and questions about the future, I lay there awake asking God for direction and peace. So, I began to try to go back to sleep and rest in Him. I put my ear buds in and put on some soaking music. ( Instrumental worship) Immediately it was like I was having a vision. I was on a boat in the middle of a lake or sea. I was fishing as I cast my nets over the side of the boat. Sure enough as I pulled it up the answers to what I have been praying for would come up out of the water. I just laughed. Suddenly, as I turned guess who was there, Jesus! Oh man! My heart leaped as it usually does when I encounter Him! I laughed again and tossed the net out of the boat again. I asked Him where He has been? He replied, ” I have always been here.” He was there and helped me as I cast my net again and pulled it back up, bringing goodies and answers to the prayers that was stirring my heart. I felt myself relax and in joy as I began to fall asleep to the peace this vision brought me. It gave me reassurance that what I saw in my vision was Jesus not just giving me what I want or needed, but taught me how to “fish”. I cast my nets again and again and He helped me pull it up again and again. At the end my vision turned into a dream I suppose because I woke up. But I remember laying in the boat that was full of answers and laughing in joy of my catch. My supply was here and I could relax and enjoy the ride. I woke up again from finally able to sleep and I felt myself say “I will never lack again. This is the last season of lack in my life.” I kept saying this over and over this morning.
I recently made some major life changes. Stepping out and trying some new things that have been on my husband and my heart for a long time. Of course, we new it would come with opposition and adversity. I mean, where in the bible did it say when you follow God that anyone has it easy. But this season has been definitely hard when people come up with their own conclusions instead of just asking questions. Then, it seemed like we were attacked for deciding to grow up and do what we have been waiting for. It has been emotionally hard at times. Its hard when the finances aren’t there to fund your dream yet. I refuse to feel like I have to justify myself to the world for believing in myself and my dreams God has given me. This is probably one of the biggest adventures we stepped out to do, and sometimes it hurts when people don’t understand. However, I rest assured in peace that I am where I am. I am not sure where the road leads, but I know where I can not stay.
It is amazing what happens when you encounter Jesus. He shows you amazing things and brings peace and hope and assurance to your heart. He is there. He is my favorite. I know that I have posted about soaking before. But its worth saying again, you should try it. I am not saying you will have visions or encounters like me, but I do know it brings peace and quiets your thoughts.
Jesus is always very present. He is always near. He is always waiting to show you a new way or a new thing. He gives good gifts and restores your soul. If you seek Him, the promise is that You WILL find him. He just wants you to trust Him as you cast your nets.
My dear friend Kelly is a true gem. Walking through wounds of her past with love and healing. She has wisdom to share about defensiveness and how it may be the lie your are believing that is keeping you from connection. Angela~
The Divisiveness of Defensiveness
by Kelly Shaum
Jesus said turn the other cheek. I don’t think that he said that so that we would be vulnerable or weak in the presence of our enemies. I think that he said that because he knew that getting in defense can be more harmful to us spiritually and emotionally then the slap in the face.
I “ran” from God in my early adulthood, over woundings that happened in my youth. It took me 12 years to get back in church and it took 4 more years for me to finally understand the cascade of events and reactions that led me down that path.
I don’t want to rehash exactly what happened, because I am sure it’s a fairly common story. We don’t always know how, what we say will be received, and sometimes harshness for the sake of expediency can cause more harm than good. With that said, I responded in the only way I knew. I became defensive. I pulled up my walls and prepared for a siege.
This is a normal response, we all instinctively want to protect the wound. If a child cuts their finger they won’t want to show it to someone to clean and bandage it because it may hurt more in the process. As you mature you learn to quickly allow someone to help because you understand the bigger picture. Infection, festering. You can’t heal what you won’t reveal. Emotional maturity works in much the same way, but it is a lot harder to achieve because every minute that we sit in defense, we deprive ourselves of fruit and growth in the area that we are defending.
Thats a hard thing to read….. I know, but it is the truth.
The analogy of a siege is appropriate because, in short burst, defenses are good, you outlast the enemy and get back to the business of living. But over a long siege, the food that is stored will be gone and sickness and starvation become commonplace. You become paranoid and untrusting because the perceived enemy is always trying to breach your walls.
The bottom line is that defensiveness takes away your ability to get the wound healed. It makes feel like you have to protect the wound. In emotional terms this means that you have to justify the wound. You cannot acknowledge any fault in your behavior because you are too busy defending it. You get to be a justified victim and you don’t have to grow or change. More importantly, living in defensiveness makes you lash out, at others. Causing more wounds. Think of a cornered animal, who is attacking anyone who would come to save them. This just perpetuates separation.
For me, it looked like this. I decided to associate the wound with the Church. I became angry and judgemental of all churches. I knew that it was not God’s nature, but still my ability to connect with God was directly affected, by my choices. I started to associate things with God that were never His doing and I rejected anything that didn’t line up with my defensive thoughts. It was a reactionary, and unhealthy. In my defensiveness, I would argue that the church was hypocritical and I would actively dissuade people from engaging with God in that manner and I lashed out at anyone who tried to convince me differently.
It took years and years of God slowly chipping away at the foundations of my defensiveness, for me to finally start moving toward Him again. He showed me that I was believing a whole lot of lies about the church and about myself. I was able to forgive and let go of past bitterness because He put people in my life that loved me in ways that I didn’t understand. When I look back to see how far I have come, I see a decade of misery. I see depression, and unhappiness and a lack of dreaming and creativity. I see existence, survival, without hope and without direction.
When you are defending a wound you are defending a lie, and you have to let Him see the lie so that He can replace it with His truth.
My hard won revelation, started when I let my walls come down and I decided that I would let God be my defender. He gave me a brain and a heart, and the more I pursued Him and His heart for me, the easier it became to sort through all of the lies that don’t line up with who He is and who I am. It’s a never ending process because He is constantly teaching, patiently and with great joy and it’s full of excitement and mystery.
The closer you are to someone, the easier it is to get in defense especially when your past experiences inform your present circumstances. But love will allow you room to relinquish pride and assumptions. If you ask God, he will give you a value for connection and remind you when your defense is up.
We are all flawed and fall short, and sometimes people can hurt you. That is the nature of the world, but God wants to protect you. God can heal all wounds and He wants to restore you. Not just restore but to teach you so that you may live from a higher place than where you started. He wants to take the cracks in your china and fill them with gold so they are more valuable than they were to begin with. There is a beauty in the way He works and it is indescribable. Most importantly, He wants to show you how to love without control or defensiveness, not so you will be vulnerable or weak, but because He loves you that way.
God instructed Joshua to go take the land which He promised His people. He said, ” BE strong and BE courageous” Not act like… not try… or even fake it til you make it. He said BE. We are children of God, our DNA is to BE His children. So whatever your going after. Whatever dreams your believing for. Whatever breakthrough your working through.
BE strong and courageous. In return, His promise is that HE will BE with us wherever we go.
Taking time to process through the pain is important. Sometimes we don’t want to feel it or believe it’s there, we aren’t being vulnerable with ourselves. I see it, I feel it, and I trust the Father that He walks me through it. Then when it’s over, I can say, He is my deliver.
We don’t have to deny our feelings. That just tells us there is work we need to do inside of us. Like a check engine light. Often time we try to ignore it, but it can’t fix itself. We have to get under the hood and do regular maintenance. When our heart is exposed to pain or hurting, don’t try to ignore it. Don’t bring out the duck tape (quick fix), be brave and fully embrace what is wrong. And don’t be afraid to take it to a mechanic. Sometimes we can’t fix it alone.
The Things We Did Right
Cultivating love between to people takes work. It’s choosing that person every single day, again and again. Even when tempers flare and life becomes over involved. Even when they misbehave and need help. You can become a better couple today.
Today is my anniversary, and we love to make it feel special. Last year, my wonderful husband worked extra hard and finally took me on my honeymoon. We went to Hawaii. Although we aren’t going to any place extravagant this year, we will celebrate us for sure.
I always feel sentimental in our milestones and victories. After all, we could have been a statistic but choose to deny the odds.
He and I had our hard times. If I really try we can remember the ugliness of our past. Where we came from, the stuff that creeps in, and everything in between. We aren’t perfect and still have things we need to work out, and do not always communicate in the best manner when things get heated, but over the years we know we have done some things right.
We were young when we married. That defies odds. We felt that even when our families did not approve of our union, we had each other. We decided to never allow the “D” word in our vocabulary with each other because we are better together than apart. We have a staying factor. Everything is trivial compared to what God has for us to do. We are not going to let the enemy destroy what God has put together.
We do not stay mad long. If we get upset with each other and even if it takes a few days. We will make up because we love our connection. We value our friendship and oneness, we know that we not only choose each other, but we complete each other. (I have to admit, my husband is a better forgiver than me.) So I am thankful for grace.
We have fun together. We had to really learn this. My idea of fun may be a shopping trip and his idea of fun is a thrill seeking adventure. So we often have to compromise or find things we can do together. I love that about us. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it does not. But at least we tried.
We reminisce a lot. Not about the bad things. That is always easy to do. We laugh about our innocence of not knowing. Our adventure in life together and we often know what worked and what did not.
But we talk about falling in love with each other and the fun we had.
It’s the encounters that made our life worth every risk. Sometimes it worked out and other times we chalk it up to stupidity.
We choose to remember the good and because of this, we have a great relationship.
We are on the same team. There is no one I would rather pick than him. We laugh together. We serve each other. We remember that every disagreement is not worth lost connection (even if it took longer to realize that.) We are better together than we are apart.
If you are in a relationship, you can cultivate love everyday for your spouse. Stop looking at their flaws. Tell them you believe in them. Tell them that whatever their going through, you can do it together. It is not your job to fix your spouse! You can only work on you. Grow you and love your spouse. Remind yourself of who they really are. Kiss your spouse. Invest in your marriage. It’s worth it and its needed. Learn how to communicate better. Learn to forgive. Everyday will give you a reason not to connect, but be intentional about connection with them.
I know every day may be a struggle. I know that each relationship is different. But I also know that any situation can be worked out. There is always hope. We have to be willing to do the work.
So from James and I… Have a prosperous marriage!