Tag Archives: Integrity

The WONDER of Forgiveness…

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This past summer, I learned an interesting tidbit of American history this about dams. Now, dams themselves have been around for as long civilization.  Dams are structures that help control the flow of water for irrigation, prevent flooding, create reservoirs for times of drought, etc.  But it has only been really within the last century or so that technology and structural engineering techniques have made it possible to create dams powerful enough to generate massive amounts of electricity .  But in order to do so, they change the landscape of the land surrounding them by actually flooding over entire valleys and the towns in them.  The result?  Hundreds of towns across the country have been strategically and intentionally flooded and are underwater.

So there are actual man-made lakes around the world that look beautiful and tranquil on the surface, yet lurking just below the surface (in some cases as little a 5-10 feet below the surface). Lovely to look at, but a little suspect for swimming!

town-under-water

One of the things we know is important to Jesus is that we are women of integrity. Believers whose outside appearance authentically represent the state of our insides.

How do I know? Well, many of you will recall this verse from our study of the Beatitudes:

 You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. Matthew 5:8, MSG

When we, as believers in Christ, refuse to forgive someone, we become like those flooded lakes. We may look good on the surface, but anyone digging any deeper into our spirits better watch out for some jagged wreckage in there.

We block God’s mercy – we dam up grace – when we refuse to forgive.  We gotta learn to let that forgiveness FLOW.

rushing-water

But how? Especially when the issue seems so unforgiveable to us.  But this is where the supernatural power of true reconciliation, when we actually take our unforgiving hearts to God, gets going.  Because for the big stuff, we cannot do it by ourselves.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Mathew 19:26, NLT

When Jesus says everything is possible, he means everything. So how do we do it?  Girls, this has been a bit life altering for me and I’m just getting used to it, but listen to this for a sec:

1 Peter 5:5-7New English Translation (NET Bible)

…all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.

CAST. YOUR .CARES. 

That’s where we begin.

Cast your cares, cast your cares, cast your cares! Your cares include issues surrounding forgiveness, girls.  So, in all humility, on your face, cast your cares.  You say to him, “Lord, this issue with forgiveness about __________ is about to crush my spirit.  This is beyond painful and it is splitting me in two.  This is compromising my soul integrity. I cannot do this alone and I need you.  So I’m giving it to you because only YOU can do something positive with it.”

And so the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit within us begins. And then we change our mindset. We move our minds up and out of the mucky mire of unforgiveness with purpose and intent, because we KNOW we have a faithful God and we let Him know we fully expect Him to work this out.

Of course, all of that along with the humility of saying we know He will work it out in His time and within His will for it. We know He wants us to live with forgiving, merciful, grace-filled hearts.  That’s how we know we can expect a victory here.

I get it. I’ve lived with stuff that I find it almost impossible to think God could forgive someone for so how in the world am I supposed to do that?  Nowhere is it written that it’s going to be easy.  But because scripture says ALL things are possible with God, I’m going to try.  Regardless of/with whom it is I need to reconcile and regardless the issue – myself, someone else, or even God.  I’m going to try.

Following along with our series, Wonder-FULL?!  This is our LAST week of wonders!  Finish up reading the main book, Wonderstuck, and complete week 6 in your participant guide!  Meet us back here next week for a wrap up of the series and a special announcement of what we’re up to in 2017!

Peace, love, and WONDER!!!

Wendie

 

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I. Was. Here.

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I was here

I believe, deep down inside, there is a need in each of us to want to be known for something we stand for.  Not only do we want to be “seen” and “heard”, we also want to create a legacy that reminds people that we‘ve made a difference.  Not egotistically, but more existentially. That our “being here” matters.  That our presence on this earth changes things for the better.

This season of Bible study, we’ve been learning about making wise choices in the middle of the craziness and busyness of everyday life – figuring out how to make our “yeses” count and how to give our “noes” with kindness and wisdom.  We’ve been learning to become people of Godly integrity.

psalm 32-8

Creating a legacy begins with becoming people who do what we believe.  And, as believers in Christ, there no better place to start than to shape our actions to look like His.

Beach on Samos

So let me ask you, what do you believe?

For instance, do you believe that the words you speak honestly matter and that using them with wisdom creates an atmosphere of trust, change, and goodness?  If so, become what you believe – stop gossiping, be truthful, and spread kindness with what you say.

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips for telling lies.”  Psalm 34:13, NIV

Do you believe God has important and relevant things to tell you and share with you through scripture?  If so, become what you believe – spend time reading scripture, look for Him in all you do, devote time to prayer, and share what you learn with others.

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure everything out on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.”  Proverbs 3:5-6, MSG

Do you believe in the honest value of wise counsel and the growth that comes with deep relationship with others?  If so, become what you believe – invest in Godly friendships, accept loving and constructive instruction from those you trust, offer help and support to those who need it, and offer your own wisdom when appropriate.

“A friend is always loyal, and a SISTER FRIEND is born for times of need!”  Proverbs 17:17, NLT

Do you believe that God has your back, no matter what, and regardless of your circumstances at any given moment, He is already working behind the scenes for your greater good?  If so, become what you believe – let Christ displace worry at the center of your spirit, practice living in the current moment with dependence on God to sustain you, consider that trials in life are simply the means by which your legacy is built, and trust that God’s got it.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus 14:14.

Become what you believe.  Life is a process – sometimes a messy one – of building layers of wisdom upon solid character and weaving love through the layers as we grow.  Step one is this:  know what you believe.  And from there, walk it out, one step at a time, with Christ as your Guide.  Create a living legacy that impacts the people around you not only for today, but for generations to come.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right.  THEN you can see God in the outside world.”  Matthew 5:8, MSG

Your Best Yes decision is to simply start becoming and pursuing what you believe.  And in doing so, you’re putting you own beautiful and lasting stamp on this world that you, indeed, were here.

If you are following along with The Best Yes with us, we are ALMOST finished!  So this week, your homework is to finish any of the chapters in the main book you have left to read AND complete Session 6 in the Study Guide!  WOW – what a great series this has been, don’t you think?!  Be sure to head back here next week for our LAST session of this amazing study together!  (And don’t worry – we have something “simply” great planned for our summer…!)

Peace, love, and joy!

Wendie

Up Next Week:  Wrapping it all up!

What I Need for 2015

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 White Paint - Baby Blue Background. Painting

 

I LOVE the beginning of a new year!!!  Doesn’t matter if it’s a school year (with all those shiny, new notebooks and pencils) or the beginning of a new calendar year (with a brand new desk blotter – BE STILL MY SOUL –  or a fresh, blank, spiral notebook calendar to flip through)!

Good Golly Miss Molly, the possibilities seem ridiculously and beautifully attainable, don’t they?!

And while I’ve never been one for making serious resolutions of all the things I aim to conquer in a year, I AM one for sort picking a theme for my new year.

And, this year, I’m aiming for something I’m calling “authentic integrity’.

(I know.  Perhaps placing “authentic” in front of “integrity” seems a bit redundant.  But I like the sound of it…!)

It means our actions match our beliefs – regardless of circumstances, situations, people we’re with, even when we’re aloneIntegrity basically means that we live a life that shows we ARE who we say we ARE.

Here’s what Merriam Webster has to say about integrity:

Integrity:  The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

I like it.

But HERE’S what Jesus has to say about integrity:

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.  Matthew 5:8, MSG

I LOVE it.  As in TOTALLY LOVE IT.

And so, for me, it’s all about INTEGRITY for 2015.

To help my outside match the inside.  To authentically be the person God created me to be, in all situations, all circumstances, and with all people.  And to experience God on the inside AND the out.

Why?  Well, so that Jesus would see me and say, “She’s the real deal; she’s My girl through and through.”

So that I would be the kind of person other people see and be drawn where that peace, joy, and love truly comes from.

So that I would immerse myself in what He teaches and seriously BE those hands and feet I’m always spouting off about in the places and spaces in which He intends for me.

So that I keep the boundaries God helps me to set through prayerful conversations with Him, and to avoid giving in when the world (or my fickle flesh) tells me I “need” to bend a little for fame, attention, glory, or even to avoid the dreaded “guilt of saying NO”…

I know you hear me, you people pleasers out there.

And YOU, you folks who are convinced that “perfection” is THE way to happiness.  You know I’m striking a chord with you, too.

And YOU, who are afraid to fail at something because you fear the shame of not living up to what you said you could/would do.  Your ears are perking up right about now, amen?

And YOU.  The one who forgets that saying “no” is just as wonderful as saying “yes” when God has actually intended that “yes” to go to someone else.

Yeah.  This Year of Integrity is for YOU.  And for ME.  Because I struggle with ALL that stuff up there and more.  I honestly do.

Our overriding theme is simple, authentic, Godly integrity.  We’ll be learning simple, scripture-based  ways of balancing the demands of our days with the desires of our souls.  Calibrating what we can handle to what God has called us to do.  Developing an integrity about ourselves we’ve been craving but, until now, have unable to name or even put our finger on.

So what are we going to do about it?!  I’m so glad you asked!

Here’s what’s on tap for the first half of 2015:

January 31-February 1, 2015:  I have the privilege and honor to be leading the Revive 2015 Women’s Retreat in Itasca, Illinois!  We’ll be delving into the “how’s” of stepping into the unforced rhythms of grace promised to us by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30!  Click here for registration information – but hurry because the registration deadline is January 5th and only a few spots remain!

February 2015-May 2015:  Stringing Pearls Bible Studies here in Suburban Chicago (we’re calling it GracePace!)  Stay tuned for more information on this 10 week study using fresh material from Stringing Pearls with Wendie AND a new book by Lysa TerKeurst called The Best Yes!  Here’s a sneak peak of our logo and theme for winter/spring:

GP Boxwood Logo 1

Lent 2015 (mid-February-end of March 2015):  GracePace online video series!  I am SO excited about sharing with you a “first” for me and Stringing Pearls Bible Study Ministry!  We will be jumping online to do a 7-week, video-based, Lenten Bible Study in conjunction with the wonderful Mayslake Ministries!  More information will be available here soon, along with the video links throughout Lent!

“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.”  ~ Chuck Swindoll 

YES!!!! That’s what I’m going for. How about you?

(How could you NOT love a quote about “crack jack clean living”?! COME ON.)

Happy 2015, sweet friends!  BRING. IT. ON.

With all the love and integrity of He who lives in me,

Wendie