Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “Offense”

Flashback Friday

flashback_friday

Flashback Friday…the day folks who forgot to post on Throwback Thursday get a second chance to go back in time. I went back in time to a not so great time. You know it’s a trip when you say “those were the good old days,” and those days were not too long ago. I mean, seriously, I can almost look over my shoulder to those days.

I got hurt in church. That’s a fact…yep, it happened. The truth of the matter is that most ALL of the hurt I’ve sustained as a Christian has been at the hands of Christians. That is what has been on my mind on this fine “Flashback Friday!!”

If I were NOT a Christ-follower, I suspect the hurt would roll off of my back eventually.  I’d be irritated, bitter, hard hearted and unforgiving.  I would write off my oppressors and look forward to the day that they “got theirs,” preferably at the hands of another, but hopefully loud enough for me to hear about it.

If I were a Christ-follower I suspect the hurt may or may not roll off of my back, I’d withdraw, say I have forgiven, but be confused about what forgiveness looked like, and I’d probably be bitter, (if I was being totally honest), skeptical and unwilling to engage ever..period!

I was that hurt, bitter, skeptical unwilling to engage ever..period Christ-follower.  It’s crazy to even type that admission after I type “Christ-follower.”  Following the leader usually makes one look and act like the leader, huh? Not always, at least not in my case and I would venture to say I’m not alone.  When I left church on that last day, I knew it was my last day and I left unannounced, uncelebrated, unnoticed…just like I had arrived.  But I left with a secret, since I had a year to sit in my hurt right there at the scene of the crime.

I was pretty giddy as I got into my car that day.  Freedom feels good!!!  My secret?  Some church was about to be blessed big time.  Some church was about to be the recipient of a family who loved God, loved people and was willing to do whatever it takes to follow the leader…Jesus!!

I purposed in my heart to stay at that church and not take all of that hurt with me.

I had a residue when I left and I had to reprogram my heart and that’s where being stubborn and steadfast worked in my favor.  There was no way I was going to allow people to change or alter my course or rearrange my purpose.  Now, I so recognize the walking wounded and it hurts me in a different way.  I’m saddened because there are so many not plugged in…just roaming, some hoping to re-engage some day, some too embittered to want to try again, some giving up altogether.  This topic keeps showing up within me because I keep running into my brothers and sisters who don a fresh limp…a limp that makes me flash back.

Here’s a great quote I ran across in a study I’m doing in a “Think about it” section….

People we love have a unique capacity to hurt us. We are vulnerable to them in a way we are not vulnerable to others. Sometimes, this vulnerability is so painful that we pull away from connection and close off to others, hoping they won’t be able to hurt us again. But when we do so, we also close ourselves off to experiencing joy, happiness, gladness, and delight with them and even because of them.

What courage it takes to expose our hearts again after we have sustained great hurt. I would venture to boldly say that the people who hurt us were sent to heal us if that hurt drives us to the only One who can heal us.

The truth is that the enemy works the hardest within the walls of the church. There is no way he wants the church to be healthy, whole and free.  That would be too great a threat for him and his kingdom.

Be healed church…move forward.  There is a Body…there is someBody and you are the gift which that Body needs.

 

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My Friend Ruth

I was blessed with an opportunity to teach at our church’s school of ministry on the subject of prayer, one of my favorite subjects ever!

Pause for a bunny trail…you know if you ever wonder what your strength is or what your calling is, take a look at your book shelf for a hint.  If you were to take a peek at mine, you’d see mostly books on prayer.  I love prayer…I see my prayers…I see myself in the throne room; I see myself seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.  I love prayer…I’ll probably touch that subject another time…back on track now.

Towards the end of the class I was sharing about prayer hindrances, unforgiveness being one such hindrance.  I told a story of a friend who had called me for prayer.  I knew that she and another friend of ours were involved in a scrape of some sort and I listened as she shared her prayer request, noticing that it was something that she had been anguishing over for some time.  I told her to get her bible and turn to Mark 11:23-24 “For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  She was squealing with delight as she read these scriptures aloud and I could hear her highlighter screeching across the page.  I then asked her to read the next verse...”And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”  “Hello, hello, are you still there?”  <silence>.  Exactly!!!  I shared with the class that I didn’t know if she ever “got it.”  She claimed she and our friend had settled their differences…I knew they hadn’t at the time.  I encouraged my class to pursue peace, seek forgiveness early…release in order to receive.

After class, there were people who stayed behind for prayer mostly and I noticed a woman in her seat watching me.  She got up from her seat when everyone else had left and asked me if she could speak to me.  She told me her name was Ruth.  She was a petite woman and I towered over her in my heels and my instinct was to remove my heels to come down a little closer to her.  She was crying as she asked me to forgive her.  Huh?  I asked her whether we knew each other.  No, she said, but I have talked about you, I’ve said mean things about you.  I was a bit surprised.  This was a first for me.  “Have we met?  Have I been mean to you?”  She said, “No, you asked me to move over a seat in church.”  I asked her if I was rude and she said I was not and she realized it was her…all her.  I just melted as I listened to her ask for forgiveness as she tried to make sense out of something so senseless.  We embraced and I took her hands and we prayed and of course I released her.  That took some boldness.  Ruth is my hero!!  I have made it a point to look for her at church to squeeze her.  Ruth has become one of my greatest encouragers.  She has no idea, unless she reads this, that the Lord used her in a mighty way to encourage me.  She had grown accustomed to seeing me in a particular seat during a particular service.  She had not seen me and reached out on more than one occasion to encourage me and to reiterate how much she missed seeing me in my normal spot.  She was looking for me…she was missing me.  I’ll not forget that!  Thank you Ruth, mi hermana!!  Te quiero mucho!!! ❤

And when you least expect it, you find yourself forgiving someone for something only they were being tormented over; and when you least expect it, you release and encourage a new friend; and when you least expect it your new friend becomes one of your biggest blessings.

Forgiveness….necessary…empowering…strengthening…healing…building.

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.” James 5:16 The Message Bible

“Be…quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 The Message Bible

Me and my friend and sister, Ruth

Me and my friend and sister, Ruth

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