My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

exhortation

4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:4-8

I've been thinking about spiritual gifts lately. Spiritual gifts are the unique characteristics that each believer has which make them useful in the Body of Christ. I have always known that I had the gift of mercy.

Mercy / Compassion Mercy / Compassion (Serving Gift) - The special gift whereby the Spirit enables certain Christians to feel exceptional empathy and compassion for those who are suffering (physically, mentally, or emotionally) so as to feel genuine sympathy for their misery, speaking words of compassion, but more so caring for them with acts of love that help alleviate their distress. The divine enablement to cheerfully and practically help those who are suffering or are in need by putting compassion into action. People with this gift: - focus upon alleviating the sources of pain or discomfort in suffering people - address the needs of the lonely and forgotten - express love, grace, and dignity to those facing hardships and crisis - serve in difficult or unsightly circumstances and do so cheerfully - concern themselves with individual or social issues that oppress people.

Lately I've been thinking I also have the gift of exhortation. It's defined like this: The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to minister words of consolation, encouragement, comfort, and counsel to other members of the body in such a way that they feel helped and healed.

Exhortation Exhortation (Speaking Gift) - The special ability God gives some to help strengthen weak, faltering, and fainthearted Christians in such a way that they are motivated to be all God wants them to be. The ability to help others reach their full potential by means of encouraging, challenging, comforting, and guiding. The divine enablement to present truth so as to strengthen or urge to action those who are discouraged or wavering in their faith. People with this gift: - come to the side of those who are weak in spirit to strengthen them - challenge or confront others to trust and hope in the promises of God - urge others to action by applying Biblical truth - offers advise, an outline for a solution, or a program for progress - motivates others to grow.

Here's a link to a website that gives a lot of information on spiritual gifts: http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift/refer.htm#Mercy

It also gives a spiritual gifts evaluation... which I haven't had time to take yet but will... http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift/index.htm

The point is... we are all uniquely gifted and possess the ability to play an important role in the lives of those around us. I've had a lot of opportunity over the past few months to exercise my spiritual gifts. And sometimes I've done a good job and sometimes I've been too self-absorbed to do what I am uniquely gifted to do.

Yesterday was sort of a cross roads for me... it seems like every time I interact with Michael, it's like stepping on a scale and evaluating my progress. In the beginning I really missed him. I still miss him to some degree... but early on it was relearning habits that was difficult... and to unlearn certain habits, I had to remember things at the worst. I had plenty of experiences to draw from. And then... as Dean and I grew to be friends, I began to feel his pain on top of my own... which was, at times, overwhelming, but it was still what I had to do. Seeing the parallels in how Michael interacted with Andrea & how he changed her gave me immeasurable insight into the changes that happened in my life. Same game, essentially. So then I had to grieve the fact that I was NOT special... that even though I am the only woman to have gotten him to the altar, that I was played the same way he played women before me... and it looks like the way he's playing the woman after me.

My intention is to make this a positive post, so stay with me on this for a second. I had to go through that discovery process to get past an addiction. I had to realize how bad that addiction really was for me. I wish the pendulum didn't have to swing that far - cause I was some kind of mad! - but that's how I began to heal. Ultimately, hatred will never heal you. It's a cancer that destroys the host. Over time I have had glimpses of compassion for Michael. Over time I have come to be able to pray sincerely for his wellbeing and happiness and prosperity and success. Every day when I talk to God about Michael, I find myself being as uncomfortable as I was in the psych ward while telling Michael's mom why I had to leave Jacksonville. I'm telling Michael's creator what a creep he was to me... and eventually... God began to let me see Michael the way he sees him...

When I got on the scale yesterday... I didn't find the anger or bitterness that usually exists. I found myself sincerely desiring to say positive things, to give encouragement... yes, there are some wrongs that existed, grave, lifechanging wrongs... oh but for the grace of God I am not standing in front of someone else having wronged them in such a way myself. I am starting to understand/feel/acknowledge that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Honestly, I could have been exposed in the same way at some times in my life and only by Gods mercy, wasn't.

I wrote this in an email to Michael yesterday and I want to share it with you.... (these are just exerpts, I left out a lot of it)

Forgiveness is a process, not instantaneous. I wish it was. I work on it daily.... Forgiveness does not prevent consequences....Forgiveness is a gift I give myself. It is what I do because not forgiving you seperates me from the God I love and worship. Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free and to realize that all along, the prisoner was you. I need to practice forgiveness. I know that but for the grace of God, I would have been discovered in my past indiscretions as you were discovered. I made all the wrong choices in men and in relationships before I met you. One might argue that I continued to make a wrong choice when I met you! When I think of you, I no longer burn with anger or hurt... when I think of you, I see you as vulnerable and wounded. I understand that people who continue to reach for something better - different - more - new - people who are incapable of giving unconditional love are also unable to accept it. I'm sorry that your heart is wounded in that way. I pray every day that God will fill your life with joy, prosperity, success and love. Yes, love. I know that our roles in this dissolving relationship are that you were the unfaithful husband and I was the "headcase" of a wife. After much prayer, I see it differently. I hurt for you. I am sorry that as deeply as I loved you, you were not able to feel loved. It is a challenge to me now to make sure the people in my life understand how much I love them, to do a better job at making people feel loved. And there are so many people that I love... so many precious people in my life that would not be here if not for you. I wouldn't be here, if not for you. I am so grateful to have this life, to be in this place, to share moments with my girls. I longed to love them and to share their lives. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to stop by Sarabeth's school for lunch with her... to drop Jamie off at her Bible study class and get "just one more kiss"... to have a sister in Angie and all the other beautiful souls that are in my life now. The truth is that I am healed. I am whole. I am strong. I have moved on. I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I am scarred, no doubt about it. I just wish you could have shared THIS life with me. I wish you could know the joy that I know now... and that's not to challenge whether or not you're happy or content or successful, that's just to say that I feel so complete and I have compassion enough for you that I wish I could share this with you.

So what does this have to do with spiritual gifts? Well... like I said, Ive been thinking about exhortation. I know that I have this gift. I know that I need to work harder to use it better. I know that I am in a unique position to have hurt and then healed... I know that I have the ability to lead people toward healing. I want to do that. And in doing that... I need to make what I say here less about the whining and more about the winning...

Time to go to work. Have a great day! Love and hugs!

2 comments:

sheri said...

They really are the ones that lose.
They just don't realize it. I want my ex to find happiness (even without me)..But I'm still not over the lose of my marriage or what was supposed to be our future.
Working on it though,,,with Gods help.
Sheri

rwdrake said...

Congratulations on starting down a Forgiving path! You'll be much more comfortable with yourself when you're able to determine what deserves forgiveness and what you'll move on from, but perhaps not forgive.

While I can appreciate some of what you've said about everyone being sinners and everyone making mistakes, I do think that it's worth remembering that all sins are not the same. All wrongs are not equal either, and while, perhaps, almost everyone is redeemable, You and your ex do not have the same burdens to meet in restoring your honor.

I hope you don't confuse your graceful ability to empathize with your ex husband with the idea that you're equally culpable for the tragedy that befell your marriage.

From what I can infer (and this is my inference and reading alone) you made a big mistake out of desperation.

Your ex cheated, lied, deceived, and dishonored you with planning and malace.

Not the same thing. You empower yourself and honor the world when you own your mistakes, but I think you don't want to make an equivalency here.

You are a person with honor.