Oh how I love a timely message! Back in January 2013 when I was giving that woman in Bible Study my tips about Praying Through Child Custody Stress, I was not even thinking that I would be walking alongside my sweet husband down that stressful road again just 1½ years later. Though, I knew it would happen eventually and told my husband as much a couple of years ago.
This time though, I’m wanting God to show up in a big way within me. Yes, of course I have a desire and strong opinion about where I think the children should live and what is best for them. But bigger yet, I want to see God’s presence in my life even though the circumstances themselves are not what I would like them to be.
I saw a tweet or post or quote somewhere one time that said Christ in me is not shown as me being in another set of circumstances. Christ in me is Christ being on display even in these circumstances. And I know through the conviction of the Holy Spirit where God is working on me at. God is prompting me to have a peaceful heart despite the difficultly of the situation. In fact, despite the difficulty of this situation or any other situation.
Lately, especially in the realm of ex-spouse bitterness, God has been prompting me to forgive. Not to condone, approve, or reconcile the relationship but to let the past go and move forward fresh so that I am not defiled by a root of bitterness. So that I am not the woman in my 50s and 60s or even 70s still spewing hate about my ex (or his ex) every time I turn around.
Then last week, Joyce Meyer quoted this verse and the timing could not have been more perfect. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32. But there are a few people who have done me so dirty and have caused so much hurt, grief, and anxiety to me, my husband, and our family. This request to “get rid of all bitterness…” just seems impossible. Well, I do know that WITH GOD, ALL THINGS are possible. To which I say “God, I’ve got to see you show up and prove this one true” LOL.
Saturday, the bitter ex and myself were both at a child’s football game. I could feel the hatred radiating off of her and completely contaminating my air space. She didn’t want him but didn’t want anyone else to have him either. And I pay the price for that. I said hi and I made small talk with the kids. But man oh man, I could feel the hate. In fact, I think she wants me to feel it. Then the Upwards Sports announcer began to lead the prayer. We both bowed our heads while the prayer was being said over the loud speaker, and I silently prayed and confessed to God “Lord, this is a joke. Your existence in us is not apparent to these kids. We both take the kids to church, we both listen to Christian music, and we both encourage Christian fellowship. But neither of us practice what we allegedly believe because your command to both of us is to “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35. Yet our lives do not reflect your love and we are complete hypocrits. All these kids see are religious works and nothing more. Church attendance without love.” Amen. And the football game began.
Then at church yesterday, the sermon was about relationships. That they are one of God’s greatest gifts yet, since they are dealing with people, they can also be difficult and lead to strife, conflict and offense. People think that their relationship can be right with God while wrong with man, but that simply is not the case. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.
The pastor said that John Bevere calls offense “the Bait of Satan”. WHAT??? Satan has been baiting and hooking me all this time and I’ve never looked at it that way? Oh I so must read that book and soon!
Finally, the pastor ended the sermon with what I thought was a great quote. As Christians, we need thick skin and a soft heart. But there are too many of us with thin skin and a hard heart.
What a great reminder on such a tough topic and at the perfect time!
Next up, I must watch The Bait of Satan video I found online by John Bevere