Category Archives: disappointment

Making Allowances.

* Written for The Grip, August 30, 2012

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Colossians 3:13

It’s easy to remember the forgive part.  Okay, it’s easier.  It’s the first part we tend to overlook:  Make allowance for each other’s faults.  Most of us have a difficult time making allowances for each other’s faults.  In other words, we don’t allow people to fail us.  We forget to make those allowances.  The truth is every person we are in relationship with will fail us.  My spouse will fail me.  My children will fail me.  My friends will fail me.  And, I will fail them.  The key is to not allow those moments to define that relationship.  Instead, we must view it as a moment in time.  A moment where we allowed that person to fail us.  A moment where we forgave them as soon as they did.  A moment.  That’s all.

Even though none of us think of ourselves as perfect, we still have a tough time allowing others to be flawed.  As a parent, I have to constantly remind myself to allow my children fail.  I have to guard against over-parenting.  There are times I try to prevent them from failing instead of letting them make mistakes.    Allowing them to fail.  I want to protect them from failure.  But, if I could protect them from every single failure, they would never see their need for a Savior.

I’m going to fail you.  You’re going to fail me.  When we do, we have a gap.  On one side of that gap is my expectation of you.  On the other side of that gap is what actually happens.  We choose what goes in the gap when someone fails us.  We can fill that gap with bitterness, anger, or hurt.  Or, we can fill that gap with forgiveness, grace, and allowances for that person’s faults.

We choose what goes in the gap.

Paul follows up Colossians 3:13 with this:

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.

Get up every morning and wrap yourself in love.  Choose peace over being right.  And, be thankful for those people in your life…..

Even when they fail you.

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, Love, Relationships

What the Hulk Taught Me.

It’s really me.  I know, right?  My dad has encouraged me to start posting some of my articles from The Grip to my blog.  So, here goes this one I wrote on the Marvel hero who scared me when I was kid:

I think I’ve said it before.  But, I am certain I learn as much from children as they learn from me.  We took our two oldest kids to see The Avengers.  (Loved the movie, by the way.  I, mean, what’s not to love about men who save the world by flying in iron suits and smashing stuff?)  My 9 year old is a huge fan of Marvel superheroes.  It’s probably a rite of passage into his manhood.  So, I asked him questions throughout the entire movie.

Is Loki good or bad?  Is Thor really his brother?

When I saw the Hulk first get angry and start smashing everyone, even the good guys, I asked him, “Is the Hulk bad?”

He replied, “He isn’t bad, Mom.  He’s just mad.”

His reply pierced my very core.  And, I haven’t stop thinking about it since.

It’s so easy to view other people’s behavior as bad sometimes.  When they say hurtful things.  When their actions hurt those around them.  When they go off on people.  When they seem to be so insensitive to others.  When they appear to be, well, let’s just say it….

Mean.

Most of the time, these people who hurt us aren’t mean.  They aren’t bad people.  They’re just mad.

There is a deeper rooted issue than what is manifesting on the outside.  The deeper root could be a seed of rejection, envy, or disappointment.  It could be shame or guilt or never feeling good enough.  Whatever the root, it can manifest itself in ways that hurts others.  In the past, I had a difficult time understanding why some people didn’t seem to move beyond playing the role of victim or villain.  Now, I have stopped trying to understand.  That lack of understanding was turning into judgments I didn’t need to make.  My mother has always told me that I can view people as hurting, or I can view them as dangerous.  Once, I began viewing them as hurting, I found it easier to release forgiveness.

Remember, forgiveness is not just about the other person.  It’s about you giving yourself the permission to emotionally move on from being hurt.  It can be also be about setting healthy boundaries in your relationship with that person where you separate yourself emotionally.  And, that is okay.  Christ didn’t reject anyone.  He made everyone feel special.  But, He didn’t let everyone cling onto Him.

Boundaries are okay.  Unforgiveness is not.  May we all have a renewed understanding that most people aren’t bad people.  They’re just mad.  Release the hurts.  Pray they learn they aren’t the deep rooted issues they’ve made themselves to be.  They aren’t who people say they are.  They are who God says they are.

Because, it’s knowing and believing who God says you are that changes everything.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  Ephesians 1:4

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Filed under disappointment, Relationships

But, What About My Circumstances?

I appreciated the encouraging responses and emails about yesterday’s post.  And, I still stand behind the power of our thoughts and words.  But, when I finally crawled into bed last night and let the quiet and stillness take over, I began hearing the question, “What about me?” ring in my head.

What about my friend whose husband left her and their daughter?

What about the son grieving the loss of his mother?

What about the hurtful things being said about her?

What about the judgments being made against him?

What about the children who go to bed hungry every night?

So, I wanted to clarify.

If you have faced, or are facing a difficult situation, it does not necessarily mean you attracted it by your own thoughts or words.  We do live in a world where bad things certainly happen.  And, by no means, do we attract these things.  And, our hearts should definitely be open and ready to comfort the brokenhearted.

The negative thoughts and words I was referring to are those that cause us to have a defeated mentality about life….

Words that judge the actions of others….

Words that are the antithesis of God’s promises of life and future for you.

Thoughts that bind you in fear.

Thoughts that hold you captive.

Thoughts that prevent you from believing that you are who God says you are and not who people say you are.

Maybe this is what you took away from it.  Or, maybe, you asked, “But what about my circumstances?”  Since, I will be held accountable for every word I type, I wanted to have a softer approach to words and thoughts.  Especially, as it relates to people going through difficult situations that they didn’t ask for.  So, if you were one who felt slighted or hurt by yesterday’s post, then I ask for your forgiveness.  Because, I have endured difficult circumstances.  And, I want you to feel loved through yours.

Now, that I got that off of my chest, let’s all go have an awesome Wednesday.

I love you all!

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Filed under disappointment, life, Spiritual Journey

Big Mama Says We Talk Too Much.

Yesterday afternoon, I found myself in my kitchen singing the words to “You Are Good.”  These lyrics rang through my head until nighttime:

Your kindness leads me to repentance
Your goodness draws me to Your side
Your mercy calls me to be like You
Your favor is my delight
Every day, I’ll awaken my praise
And pour out a song from my heart.

Romans 2:4 says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you?  Does this mean nothing to you?  Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”

It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.  It’s His goodness that draws us.

My translation:  Stop judging and be so dang intolerant of other people.  God uses kindness, sweet words, and forgiveness to transform our own lives into something beautiful.

When people disappoint us….

When people don’t live up to our expectations….

Fill in the gap of your expectation of someone and what that someone actually does with kindness and forgiveness.

Even with your spouse.

Give him or her the benefit of the doubt.  When has expressing your disappointment with your spouse EVER worked?  There is a definite time and place for healthy communication.  Healthy.  There is also a time to keep your mouth shut.

I remember being aggravated with Kris once for not taking care of something before he left for a trip.  I was so stinking mad.  I picked up the phone to call him and tell him exactly how I felt about his oversight.

Fortunately for Kris, Big Mama was at my house.

“Talk, talk, talk. That’s the trouble with young people.  They think they need to talk everything out.  Sometimes, you just need to keep your mouth shut.  Put the phone down, and just forgive him.”

I’m pretty sure filling in the gap with forgiveness and a closed mouth did more for my marriage than that phone call would’ve done.

Trying to bring conviction to someone’s life never goes the way we think it will.  But kindness will always bring about effectual change.   And often times, our kindness towards others changes US.

It’s how God functions.   And, since we are of God….created in His image….isn’t it how we should function?

I am so thankful for His patience.  For His love.  For His mercy.

And, so thankful that His mercy calls us to be like Him.  Because, His ways are truly better.

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Filed under Big Mama, disappointment, God Stuff, Marriage, Relationships

Ten Years.

In many ways it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  In so many other ways, it really does.  Ten years ago at this time, I was two months pregnant with John Henry.  And, his dad left.

I guess I never imagined I would be in that place.  I certainly never saw myself divorced.  I never thought I’d be a single mother.  It was the single most heart-breaking, devastating time in my life.  Words were said that pierced me.  Actions taken that floored me.  And, I couldn’t imagine that my life would ever be restored back to where it was.

I spent the next few months busying myself with work, getting ready for a baby, and involving myself in the community.  I traveled to Chicago to an Arts Conference hosted by Willow Creek Church.  I headed up the campaign for my uncle who was running for County Commissioner.  He won, by the way.  And, I joined with city leaders in putting together a Memorial Service for the one year anniversary of 9/11.   And, in my down time, I cried.

But, I also prayed.

I prayed scriptures over Bryan’s life every single night of my pregnancy.  I prayed blessings over him.  In the middle of my pain, I cried out to the Redeemer.  And, I released forgiveness little by little until I no longer carried any anger or resentment.

I was still heartbroken.  There were times I would feel sorry for myself.  I’d cry the ugly cry.  My countenance would be less than inviting.  I remember during one of my pity parties, my dad told me, “You never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.”  Of course, I knew how I was going to feel.  Exactly like I was feeling at that moment.

Until one day, you wake up, and the weight of it all seems a little less.  The hurt isn’t quite as painful.  And, before you know it, you are smiling.  And, you are staring into the eyes of a little blue-eyed baby boy who has changed everything.

September 24, 2002, I held John Henry.  I looked at my parents and said, “My world is right.”  It was.  The hurt was still there.  But it became less.  A few months later, Kris Takle flew into my life.  Literally.  Six months later?  We were married.  Six months after that?  We were pregnant with Anna Takle.

And, now ten years later?  My life is full.

It is redeemed.

I never believe that divorce is God’s best for one’s life.  But, I do believe He is a God of redemption and will make good out of messes.  I will never write about the nit and the grit of the words said or the actions during it all.  I really see no need, honestly.  It’s not where I live.  I don’t ever want it printed and posted to hurt John Henry or Bryan.

As for Bryan, he has allowed God to work in his life.  He is a great father to John Henry.  He is a great friend to Kris.  And, Kris is a great friend to him.  We celebrate holidays together.  We have vacationed together.  We aren’t “normal.”  We really didn’t think “normal” was working.  So, we just do things differently.

I would defend Bryan’s name until my last breath on earth.  Because, he is a good man.  And, I am forever grateful to him for John Henry Landreth.  I have learned more about compassion and forgiveness because of that little boy than I ever imagined possible.

John Henry is a constant reminder to me of how GOOD God is.

Anna and Jett are constant reminders of His redemption.

And, Kris Takle.  Well, you know what he is.

The one who made my heart beat fast again.

It’s been a good ten years.

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Filed under disappointment, divorce, gratitude, Life Experiences, Love, Motherhood, prayer, Writing

Right This Minute.

Right this minute.

I know a woman bed-ridden with a cancer that is trying to consume her body.  And, it wrecks me.

Right this minute.

I know a woman who is putting every single ounce of trust into her Savior as she comforts her two daughters who probably don’t understand why their father has walked out.  And, it wrecks me.

Right this minute.

I know a man who is caring for a wife who has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia while struggling to keep his business afloat.  And, it wrecks me.

Right this minute.

I know a woman who doesn’t comprehend her value and is selling out to lies that she will never be good enough.  And, it wrecks me.

I know every single one of these people.

And, these things are happening.  Right this minute.

And, it wrecks me.

It wrecks me until I remember…..

The Roman Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant, and Jesus just spoke the words, and He was healed.

And, I remember that God will be a father to the fatherless, and He will redeem everything that is lost.

I remember that all things are possible with the One who provides for us and never leaves us and goes with us all the way to the end.  And, the end is always glorious.

I remember that I am the arms and feet of Christ, and I can love with His amazing love so that person hurting sees only God lifting her up, holding her in His arms, until she knows how He loves her from the inside out.

You see, nothing….NOTHING is beyond repair.  Nothing is beyond redemption.  Nothing is beyond the MIRACLE.

And, I won’t stop praying.  I won’t stop serving.  I won’t stop fighting for people.

Because, I am a WARRIOR.

And, He is KING.  In whom ALL things are POSSIBLE

Right.  This.  Minute.

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, making an impact, prayer

Oh, But For the Grace

What is God’s grace?  A shortened version:  It’s God’s unmerited favor.  Often times God’s grace is confused with God’s mercy.  It’s by God’s mercy that I don’t really get all that I deserve.  But, it’s God’s grace that we can draw from when we go through difficult times.

Oswald Chambers writes:

The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “. . . in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested ( 2 Corinthians 6:4 ). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.

“To draw upon as needed….”  The measure of grace God gives someone who just lost their child is much greater than the measure of grace I might need for a financial struggle.  But, His grace is always sufficient.  No matter what situation we are in.  We just have to draw on it.

Kris and I were talking about how our life is going to change when Jett arrives.  How am I going to deal with the stresses of a newborn, two kids in school, and being so far away from my momma?  Then, I remembered when John Henry was born.

I was a single mother.  I was the only one getting up in the middle of the night with him.  I was the only one clothing him, bathing him, and feeding him.  By the time he was six weeks old, I was back at work.  I would get him up in the mornings, get him dressed and fed, and put him in his little bouncy seat.  I’d put that bouncy seat in my bathroom while I showered and got ready for work.   Then, off we’d go.

I don’t remember any moments where I was ready to pull my hair out.  I do remember an overwhelming peace in our little home.  I remember a sweet baby boy who began sleeping through the night early.  I remember not wanting to go out for New Year’s Eve, because I just wanted to spend the evening with him. 

What was it that made our first few months alone together so peaceful?  So wonderful?

I’m pretty sure it was God’s grace on my life.  I never stopped crying out to Him.  I never stopped praying that God would make something great of my disappointment in life – my divorce. 

He did.  He was faithful.  And, in the meantime of going through it all, His grace was sufficient. 

Sometimes, I forget to draw on that grace today.  That unmerited favor of God.  So, He reminds me of how His grace was sufficient when…..

And when……

And when…..

And, then?  I count my stones.

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Filed under disappointment, divorce, God Stuff, Motherhood, Spiritual Journey

What Do I Do With This Spear?

I struggle with injustice.  I find myself wanting to make wrongs right.  I want to defend.  I want to set the record straight.  I want to pick up the spear thrown at me and throw it right back.

And, I have done just that before. 

But, if we look at the life of David, we see a man who trusted God enough to not return the spears. 

I’m not speaking of those times we feel righteous anger.  A righteous anger can be a desire to defend helpless children being abused or to stop human trafficking.  This is very different from what I’m talking about.  This post is also not a means of addressing bullying as so many of you expressed to me personally yesterday.  Perhaps, the issue of bullying is one I can write on soon with the help of many whose children have experienced it.  I just don’t feel equipped to speak on that issue as effectively as it should be addressed.  And, my heart breaks for those dealing with it on a daily basis. 

This post is meant to address when people speak against our character.  When we are criticized.  When we are persecuted.  When our actions are questioned. 

It’s very hard for me to not want to return the spears.  But, after reading Gene Edwards’ A Tale of Three Kings, I see a heart in David that I want.  Although he was hunted down and tortured by King Saul, he never retaliated.  Oh, he certainly had opportunity to.  But, he didn’t.  Had he returned Saul’s spears, he would have become like him. 

I don’t want the heart of Saul.  I want the heart of David.  What I do with those spears will determine exactly what kind of heart I will have. 

David’s torture by Saul occurred in his pre-king days.  But, he didn’t know he would be king one day.  Not at this time.  Edwards writes, “These were David’s darkest hours. We know them as his pre-king days, but he didn’t.  He may have assumed this was his lot forever.”

It wasn’t his lot forever.  He would one day become king. 

It’s not our lot forever either.  Not as long as we walk in humility.  And, according to Edwards, not as long as we…..

“One, never learn anything about the fashionable, easily-mastered art of spear throwing.  Two, stay out of the company of all spear throwers.  And three, keep (our mouths) tightly closed.”

I’ll be the first to admit, keeping my mouth tightly closed is not one of my strengths.  Can I get an amen, Kris Takle?

But, I’m working on it.  God wants me broken.  Humble.  Patient.  *GASP*

If you’re struggling with forgiveness, brokenness, or spear-throwers, I highly recommend A Tale of Three Kings.  It’s an easy read but heavy on the heart.

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No Matter.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

I love this scripture.  I especially love The Message translation. 

Yet still I sometimes overlook it.

Then, I discover it again.  And, I pray that this time, it will remain written on my heart.

Because, it is foundational to my faith.

To my life.

It is hope.

It is truth.

And, we need not forget.

That no matter what place we are in.

No matter how fiercely our battles wage.

No matter what the report reads.

No matter how high the mountain is.

No matter how long the walk through the valley takes.

No matter.

God can do anything, you know.

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff

Refining.

I had been frustrated with God for few days.  He wasn’t answering my prayers.  He didn’t appear to be moving on my behalf.  And, I reminded Him a time or three of my faithfulness – my investments into the Kingdom and into others.  ‘Cause, clearly, it’s all about me. 

I.Got. Nothin’.   

I probably should’ve gotten a “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth” speech.  I deserved it.

Hello, God.  Are you there?  Is this thing on?  Testing one, two, three. 

I did all of those things I know to do.  I even read and re-read “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)  I just added my own “Hmph” to the end of it.

Then, a light came on.  I was sitting at my kitchen table watching John Henry complete a few make-up assignments, and I repeated my “Hmph.”  And, the silence ended. 

He spoke. 

So, I asked….

“What are You wanting to teach me through this?”

Kind of changed my perspective a wee bit. 

Sometimes, we go through difficult situations brought on by ourselves, others, or just life circumstances.  This, we know.  What we, or I, seem to forget is that God can and will use these times to refine us.

You see, friends, we may be created in His image, but we aren’t Him.  And, He wants us to be more like Him.  So, He’ll refine us. 

Because, He love us.

And, that’s a good thing.

As the days passed, God began to make me painfully aware of some areas in my life that weren’t completely surrendered to Him – one particular area that didn’t resemble Christ in any way. 

So, I let Him begin doing some heart surgery on me.

Refining, if you will.

Tomorrow, I’ll share what that one thing is.

Do you feel God refining an area in your life?

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.  Psalm 66:10

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