Heartbreak to Strength Blog

Forgiveness

The month of December was super busy- I cannot believe it is almost over and we are about to start a whole new year. At the beginning of December, I was emailing my family some gift ideas for the boys and me so I looked up my favorite authors on amazon for book ideas for me. As I was searching, I came across a book on forgiveness, and it was written by an author that works with Proverbs 31 ministries. I love their devotionals and have ready many of their recommended books. So instead of putting this book on my wishlist, I ordered it immediately. I have been reading this book called “The Unburdened Heart” by Suzanne Eller this past month and it has been a phenomenal book! I just finished reading it this morning and I highly recommend it.

There are so many nuggets of truth in this book. I honestly am hoping to back chapter by chapter to dive deeper into the book but I want to share with you something from the chapter called Live as a Forgiver. In this chapter, she talks about being intentional! She says, “You grasp the art of responding rather than reacting as you perfect the art of the pause, giving your emotions a chance to simmer down before you say or do something, because you have discovered that words and behavior matter.” Well, I love this statement because this is an area that I have been working on for many years now. Sadly, there are still times that I do not exercise the art of the pause but instead let my emotions get the better of me. Can anyone relate to this?

Well, this happened the year at Christmas for me with my parents. My emotional tank was low and my patience level was gone and I just snapped. I am not proud of how I acted. I am always tell my children: your response is your responsibility. No matter what, I have the choice in how I am going to respond so my poor example became a great teaching moment for both me and my kids! The good news is God gives us grace when we mess up!   By asking for forgiveness, we can repair the rupture with whomever we hurt.

I love what Lysa Terkeurst says in her book, “Unglued.” (Note: another one of my life changing, favorite books) She talks about “imperfect progress.” In her book, she says, “That one of the things that kept her from trying to change was knowing that she could not do it perfectly. She said that sometimes we think that if we don’t make instant progress then real change is not coming.” That is when she came up with imperfect progress. She says, “imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace… imperfect progress.”

I hope this encourages you as much as it has encouraged me!

Trusting God through Gratitude

If I am being completely honest, yesterday was a hard day. It was my first big Holiday without my kids.   The morning began with my kids facetiming me at 6 am which was so special to me!! It truly helped me begin my day with a huge smile on my face even though my kids were not with me.   I spent the day with my sisters which was super wonderful; we had delicious food and fun but my heart was missing my two kids. Later in the day, I received a text with a movie of my youngest son doing a magic trick. It was wonderful to see him perform this trick but it was also a reminder that I was not there with them.   I started to realize all that I was missing: not only was I missing memories with my kids but time with my nieces and nephews who I love dearly, conversation with my sister in law or mother in law… sadly, this is one of the hardest parts of divorce.

This morning, I received Pastor Rick’s devotional called “Trusting God through Gratitude” and it truly touched me.   I love when God gives me exactly what I needed to hear.

He says, “How does gratitude develop my faith? It happens when times are tough — when things don’t make sense, when you can’t figure it out, when your prayers are unanswered, when everything is going the way you didn’t want it to go. It happens when you can say in those circumstances, “God, I know you’re in control. I know you love me, and I know you can bring good out of this. I’m thankful that you’re bigger than my problem.”

Here is my favorite part, “That is the ultimate test of the depth of your faith. Can you thank God when life stinks? When you’re going through tough times, don’t look at what’s lost. Look at what’s left, and be grateful for it!”

Well, I love that last line- don’t look at what is lost but look at what is left and be grateful for it!   So, this morning, I spent some time journaling all the wonderful blessings in my life: of course, my kids were at the top of the list along with my amazing time with God, friends who are so supportive and encouraging, family who love me and care about me…

So, if you are struggling with a hard time, I encourage you to do the same thing. Don’t focus on what is lost- Satan would like nothing more than to see up focus on what is lost and be ungrateful. Instead, focus on the blessings that God has surrounded you with and be grateful to Him!

Love, Jodi

PS If you want to read his entire devotional- here is a link: http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/trusting-god-through-gratitude