Heart Barnacles

Barnacles on heart

Bitter years’ unforgiveness

Soul-pain encrusted

Hurt that can’t be chipped away

God’s pure grace dissolves, absolves

~~~

I know how bitter unforgiveness can imprison the soul, encrust the heart.  Every memory of betrayal, abuse, abandonment, deceit, theft, injustice can stir embers back to raging flames which consume peace and joy in daily life. 

God’s position on forgiveness is clear:  His Word says if I don’t forgive, He won’t forgive me.  AND, He assures me that His grace through Christ is the provision, supply, for all that I—being weak—can’t fulfill, despite my desire to please Him.  Not only that but, because He’s both merciful and a God of justice, He vows to vindicate me.  And there’s more:  Romans 8:28 promises believers that God will “work all things together for good”—“all” means every worst card of offense or loss that life and people have dealt us.  He has everything covered.

I was 59 before I learned how freeing it was to forgive people who’d deeply wounded me throughout my life.  Perusing a long list of names, I realized that with every remembrance, I’d effectively chained myself to each one of their cruel/ignorant words, deeds.  Though I wanted to forgive, I couldn’t shake the intense pain and anger loose.  I prayed for the feelings to be dispelled, but the weight of those chains held me down, kept me from living the Abundant Life Jesus died to give us.  You know the image of Marley’s ghost, in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”?  That’s what came to mind. 

Forgiveness is not a “feeling”, it’s a decision.  I’ve heard others say that to withhold forgiveness is like drinking the poison you’d like to pour down your enemy’s throat.  How true; it becomes bitter bile, the taste which never leaves the tongue—every sentence I spoke was tinged with it, and it affected my health and relationships.

I confess that I didn’t gain victory in this area overnight, but the pursuit was well worthwhile and God is incredibly faithful.  His love, patience, and willingness to help are incomprehensible and limitless.  As Creator and Heavenly Father, He didn’t just toss us a book of difficult commandments and say, “good luck”.  He provided a Savior, His Son Jesus—and His Holy Spirit’s power.  Having surrendered my will to God’s, I lean into Him, trusting Him to assist me whenever I’m stuck.  I persevere in studying His Word, and pray He’ll send teachers who speak my language.  He obliges because He knows my heart belongs to Him. 

Today, I thank and praise Him that I’m no longer imprisoned by unforgiveness.  I believe that indeed, God continues to work everything together for my benefit.  If a memory of wounding surfaces, I’m able to say, “Bless him/her, Lord.  I’m grateful You’ve handled the whole matter on my behalf, that it needn’t impact me anymore”.  Even if they’re no longer living, or not in my life (so I could bless them personally), it’s transformative, revitalizing to “bless those who’ve cursed you”.  I never forget that I, too, have wronged others, and need forgiveness.

I encourage anyone who’s chained to unforgiveness to “be of good cheer”—your help, healing and freedom are waiting in God’s hands.  He’s eager to cleanse the barnacles from your heart.  “Ask” Him, and be blessed today(scripture verses below)

©Sandal Teaberry, 2018 ~ All rights reserved.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/encrusted/

“For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust”  Psalm 103:14 New Living Translation (More verses re human weakness, God’s strength/power at end of list**)

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Philippians 4:13 KJV

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven” Luke 6:37 English Standard Version

Forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” Col 3:13 NIV

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins”  Mark 11:25 NIV

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” Matt 5:44 King James Version

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” Luke 6:28 ESV

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them”   Romans 12:14 New Living Translation

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them” Romans 12:14 ESV

“The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever” Psalm 138:8 New Internat’l Version

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28 NASB

*Italics and Bold added by this author.

**Weakness/Strength—2 Cor 12:9, Heb 4:15, Rom 5:6, 8:26; Psalm 31:34, 73:26; Joel 3:10, Isaiah 40:29, 2 Tim 1:7, Matt 26:41

Constant God

God’s constant Presence

Comfort of Love unchanging

In chaotic world

Which tap-dances on soul’s peace

Off-step arrhythmic tempo

Constancy of God

His hand, good hope heart’s anchor

Solid Rock unmoved

©Sandal Teaberry, 2018 ~ All rights reserved.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/constant/

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Hymn #370
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 1:1
Author: Edward Mote, c. 1834, cento
Composer: John Stainer, 1873, arr.
Tune: “Magdalen”

Valued Imperfection

“Perfection comes out of molds or off assembly lines… And the great irony is that we value things made by hand more than we do things that come from machines.”

~ Simon Sinek, author (Permission to Screw Up)

~~~

Perfection(ism) is a trap…the kind with shark-like teeth that require you to gnaw off a limb, to escape.  I surrendered the desire for perfection sometime back.  It’s a curse, really, made me ill; and an insanely futile exercise, because no one was impressed.  For certainly, the people who pushed me to be perfect were never gonna allow me reach their high bar.  I’ve done crazy…not going back.

Now, “improvement” is different.  My Coach is far gentler than Perfectionism, encourages each step I take; and the reward of seeing better results than I accomplished last year (or month) makes the process of progress fun.  One trick I’ve learned is to avoid comparing myself with people whose achievements I admire; I stopped comparing, and competing with them—and only measure myself kindly, according to marks on my performance wall.

Is it ironic that we value things made by hand more than what comes from machines?  I’ve known people who don’t value made-by-hand.  They demand perfection at whatever cost, and keep drawers full of warranty documents for when it fails.  So, I view whether one values what comes from an assembly line, or is hand-crafted, as “heart perspective”.

It’s a “heart thing”.  Heart and hands are so intimately connected that when I hold a gift made by someone whose heart is tied to mine, I feel their breathing, pulsing spirit in the object.  It is warm, fragrant with conversations we’ve shared about all that’s meaningful to us.  More than diamonds, I cherish a necklace of “angel” beads handcrafted by a dear sister and niece—for these women are loving angels.  And when I offer gifts from my kitchen, I hope recipients will “taste” my heart in what I’ve cooked, baked.

God knows about creating from love—His hands formed the first man, Adam, and He blew His breath into him.  He’s no “cookie-cutter” God; He makes every person different—even with twins who share similarities, there’s something unique about them, a God-ingredient.

Nonetheless, we’re not flawless…if God wanted perfect folks, He’d have quit already.  He had a better plan, JESUS—who, as His Holy Son, is the Way of reconciliation between God and fallen mankind; the perfect Sacrifice for man’s godless self-regard; the just Advocate for all who will stand before God’s throne.

I’ve made friends with “imperfection”—not so I can be slothful, but because I don’t need to be God…I’m sure that relieves His mind too.  Life, in all its muck and glory, is difficult enough without sweating the stress of perfectionism.  And seriously, who doesn’t get misty-eyed when someone says, “I made this for you”—even if you’ve no clue what it is…you know it’s “love”.

©Sandal Teaberry, 2018 ~ All rights reserved.

A Sign and Witness

I’m featuring my sister Deb’s devotional poetry today, inspired by the book of Isaiah.  You can read more of Deb’s work at her blog:  https://iftodaywehear.wordpress.com/
♥†♥
You will be
as an altar
as a pillar
to your Lord
 
a sign
and a witness
of your Mighty
Savior.
©Deb Feller, 2018
 ♥
Today, Receive God’s Abundant Blessings!

My BEST Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!  I hope you’ve celebrated this holiday with loved ones near, or far.  For me, it was fun to invite a friend I’ve known since college over for lunch.  I love cooking for someone else, and in addition to serving my Borscht (red beet soup is very Valentine-ish!), I had made a chocolate cheesecake with coconut crust and raspberry topping. 

We ate heartily and talked about everything under the sun—which, following a rainy spell, broke through the gray, bright as Heaven’s veranda.  As we visited, I realized the value of having an “old” friend who’s known me in good times and deplorable; seasons when I was most unlovable…and today, finally showing signs of improvement 🙂

People say true love “takes the bad with the good”, and doesn’t give up on the beloved.  That describes my Best Valentine:  Almighty God, The Lord Jesus, King of my heart.  Certainly His love for me has been unconditional, patient, merciful, and most gentle.  He’s not shocked by the worst in mankind, and He knew what He was in for when He chose me long ago.  I now understand that He saw my potential to grow into someone He could be proud of…not a saint, but someone I wouldn’t despise anymore.  His love is powerful, it can overcome a lot of what’s wrong in a person.  That’s why I have HOPE, why He is my Best Valentine.

People who love us will sometimes disappoint us, may even leave us stranded; but God will never leave nor forsake those who belong to Him.  If you’re searching for someone who will love you everlastingly (not Hollywood-style, but heroic in the real world) when you’re exhausted from trying to be perfect, or in an unimaginable mess, I invite you to call on Jesus.  He responds to merest whisper.  His heart is always open, and BIG enough that He can be “Valentine” to the whole world.

May you experience the abundant, miraculous blessings of His great love for you today♥  Sandal Teaberry

John 3:16-17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.

Amplified Bible (AMP)Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

♥†♥

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Romans 8:38-39 The Berean Study Bible

♥†♥

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever” ~ Psalm 136:26 English Standard Version

Wise Elders, Leaving a Good Legacy

“Listen to your elders.  Not because they’re more right—but because they’re more experienced at being wrong.”

~ Steve Richards, Reader’s Digest

~♥~

Oh, that we could have wisdom while we’re still youngsters…but very few of us are born so gifted.  The next best thing is to be accompanied by wise elders early on, and throughout life’s journey.  But there seems a shortage of such folk; most young people gravitate to their peers’ values and philosophy, as well as music and fashion. 

How I wish I’d had wise elders to guide me in my youth…how I lament not grasping whatever scraps of wisdom were tossed along my path.  I wasn’t raised on the Bible and by the time I read it, the Book of Proverbs’ instruction was too late, regarding many points.  The words sounded harsh, punishing—which was how I viewed God for years.  I didn’t realize till decades later how much He loves people, cares deeply about our well-being here and now—not just for Eternity; that His prohibitions are for the benefit of our bodies/minds/hearts, as well as souls.  I wish I’d been smarter, wiser—that I’d had good teachers, true examples of Him.

A pastor I know of put it so well, when he shared about sitting down with his adolescent son for “a talk”.  He told the boy about bad things he’d done when he was young, how he’d strayed far off the “narrow way” taught in the Bible.  What moved me was his manner and reasoning; it was a heartfelt plea:  “I want you to hear and BELIEVE what I’m saying…because I love you so much, and don’t want you to suffer the painful consequences of making wrong choices, the way I did”.  His young son, apparently gifted with sufficient wisdom, responded, “I will believe you, Dad”.

It’s unrealistic to suggest we can spare the next generations ALL mistakes in judgment, and the consequences of mistakes which can leave lifelong scars.  But maybe we could make time and intentional efforts to foster trusting relationships with children who share our lives—and be brave enough to be honest about things we’re ashamed to have said and done, words and deeds which left wounds with a ripple-effect that only God can sort out and heal. 

We desire to leave our young a rich legacy—one of pride, full of goodness.  I know too well that regrets and remorse make for a terrible inheritance.  The Book of Proverbs is God’s Wisdom—whether we heed, or ignore, Him determines our course and quality of life.

Blessings to you all.

©Sandal Teaberry, 2018 ~ All rights reserved.