A Life Changing Experience

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This year I had the privilege of attending the 2014 Pinky Promise Conference, which was beyond incredible. For those of you who do not know what Pinky Promise is, it is an organization created by Heather Lindsey in which she encourages women to pursue Jesus and lead a holy, pure life (i.e., save yourself for marriage). It’s also a sisterhood for women to uplift and encourage one another in their Christian walk. It’s a remarkable organization with an anointed leader. If you haven’t already, check out the website www.pinkypromisemovement.com

The Lord put it on my heart to share with you all my experience at the conference and all that He ministered to me. Let me just say that every single woman that attended that conference left a changed woman. I mean the way that God showed up…the way that His Presence fell on that place…we could not help but leave there changed! All of the speakers were phenomenal and truly allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them. Heather said she’s going to post the videos of the speakers on her site so when you get a chance, definitely go check it out.

On Friday and Saturday morning of the conference, we had quiet time. Quiet time was truly a life changing experience for me…God really ministered to me. During quiet time, all the women met in the ballroom to pray (either individually or in groups) while worship music played in the background. During quiet time, God began to reveal my heart to me…He began to show me some unforgiveness in my heart that I was unaware of because I suppressed it…He began to reveal somethings to me about myself that were not easy to accept. You see, I thought that I had my Christ walk together…don’t get me wrong, I knew I was far from perfect, but there were certain things like unforgiveness that I was sure I wasn’t struggling with…boy oh boy was I wrong! God ministered to me about friendships. A few years ago, I was part of a ministry in which a couple of my siblings in Christ hurt and disappointed me. I thought I had forgiven those individuals, but in reality I forced them and those hurts they inflicted to the back of my mind so that I wouldn’t have to think about it. I didn’t realize it, but because I didn’t lay them and the pain I felt at the feet of Jesus, that pain kept me from allowing others get close to me. This is what God told me,

“You have let past friendships that have ended badly harden your heart instead of laying those people and the pain they inflicted at My feet. Because you have held on to this pain, you have put up a barrier preventing others from getting close to you. When others try to get close to you, you hold them at a distance…you only let them get so close to you…you only let them get a glimpse of the real you in order to protect yourself from getting hurt. Although you’ve been able to protect yourself from getting hurt, it was at the expense of some rich and rewarding fellowship and friendships.”

That absolutely wrecked my heart…I honestly did not realize I was doing that, but the more that I thought about it, the more I could see how I did shut people out in order to keep myself from getting hurt again. I just began to cry out to God…pour my heart out to Him, asking Him to help me truly give the past to Him and move forward so that I can experience the friendships He meant for me to have. I asked Him to show me what to do to change and He gave me my answer the next day during quiet time. That next day we were asked to pray and intercede for others so we got into groups of two and more. I got into a group with 3 other women in which we prayed for one another. As we were praying, I could feel a heaviness on one of the women. I tried to ignore it, but the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me so I asked the Holy Spirit what He wanted me to do about it. He told me to go and put my arm around her. Now, for those who know me, y’all know that is way out of my comfort zone. I’m one of the least affectionate people…I wasn’t always that way, but, as mentioned before, my barriers I put up around me kept me from being affectionate. Anyway, I started trying to convince the Holy Spirit that He did not want me to go and put my arm around this woman. I was like, “Holy Spirit, are You sure You don’t want me to just pray for her? Prayer is very powerful!” If you have never experienced the Holy Spirit tugging on your heart, this is how it feels: it’s like a nagging pulling that you can feel all the way to the depths of your soul…it’s a relentless tug…you have no peace or rest until you do what the Holy Spirit has told you to. So now I couldn’t just go back to praying and interceding because I could not even focus! Finally, I put aside my fears and concerns, and scooted myself next to that woman and put my arm around her. As soon as I did that, one of the other women in our group came and started praying for the woman. The woman broke down crying, but it was okay because she had her sisters in Christ there to uplift and comfort her. Now just imagine if I hadn’t obeyed the Holy Spirit. Would the other woman have come over and started praying? What about the woman who was hurting? Would she have left quiet time with that heaviness on her heart? While I was comforting my sister in Christ, the Lord began to minister to me again,

“The remedy to a hardened heart and breaking down barriers is helping and comforting others as I lead you, My child. You must walk in obedience. Obedience allows Me to shape and mold you into the woman I have called you to be. It is through that obedience that you submit to My will for you.”

Just imagine if I hadn’t obeyed the Holy Spirit? Do you think God would have still given me that revelation? I doubt it…or I would have gotten it much later. For those of you reading this, I don’t know what your situation is or what you are going through, but if you have any unforgiveness in your heart, lay it at the feet of Jesus. If you are unsure of whether or not you have unforgiveness in your heart, let me help you out…you know that friend that betrayed you, how do you feel when you see a post from them on Facebook or Instagram? Does anger flare up inside of you? Do you start to think negatively about that person? Then, yes you have unforgiveness in your heart. Maybe it’s not unforgiveness in your heart…maybe fear is holding you back…lay it at the feet of Jesus. 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God,  for He cares about you.” God cares about every single aspect of your life. He cares about when you are hurting, but He doesn’t want you to  hold on to those hurts allowing them to harden your heart. A hardened heart prevents you from feeling and if you can’t feel, how in the world are you supposed to have relationships and friendships? Give all that hurt to God and allow Him to mend your broken heart…let Him make you whole again, and as the Holy Spirit leads you to do something, walk in obedience. Your obedience will allow God to do great and mighty things in your life.

 

 

 

 

So Your Sibling in Christ Did You Wrong…

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(Originally Posted June 26, 2013)

You know that sibling in Christ who only text you when they need something or they’re having some kind of crisis? Or maybe it’s that sibling in Christ who is always competing with you or trying to outdo you? Or that sibling in Christ that has nothing nice to say and acts like a Negative Nancy? Or what about that sibling in Christ who can tell you everything that is wrong with you, but has yet to shine a magnifying glass on their own mess of a life? Or maybe that sibling in Christ who failed to keep their word to you once again?

I’m pretty sure we’ve all had experiences with our siblings in Christ similar to these. So what do we do when our sibling in Christ does us wrong? Do we do as Christ says in Matthew 5:39 and turn the other cheek or do we hold a grudge and plot our retaliation? Do we say that we forgive them, but every time we see them we give them the cold shoulder? Or do we keep silent and let our anger boil?

Before I get into what we’re supposed to do, let me say this: From my personal experience, it hurts much more and angers me much more when a fellow Christian does me wrong in comparison to a nonbeliever. I’m not sure about y’all, but I get hot when my brother or sister in Christ mistreats me. Why? I believe it’s the expectation. I mean I don’t expect much from the world. My thinking is this “You have Jesus Christ living in you so you shouldn’t be mistreating me like this!” I have to remind myself that even though we have Jesus living inside of us, we still have a messed up, jacked up flesh that is weak and sinful.

Matthew 26:41

“…The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

So, once again, what do we do when our siblings in Christ hurt us?

Confront them! Lovingly, of course.

Matthew 18:15-17

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

Confrontations are never easy and are extremely uncomfortable, but they are a must. Confrontations can go 1 of 2 ways.

 

1. They can go smoothly and the person you’re confronting takes what you say to heart immediately. A lot of times people don’t even realize that they’ve done something wrong and just simply need it brought to their attention.

OR

2. They can be rough. The person can reject everything you say and will likely be angry with you. However, if they are truly in the wrong and they have a true relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will convict them and they will realize the error of their ways. If they don’t, you can do like Matthew 18:16 says and confront them amongst a couple of other Christians who can help serve as mediators. And if that still doesn’t work, all you can do is give them to God.

The main thing is that you confront your brothers and sisters in Christ when they hurt you. 

 

Ephesians 4:26

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger”. 

 

Don’t hold on to that anger and let it fester or you will end up sinning too. That anger will turn into bitterness and resentment, which will just make the situation worse. 

 

Proverbs 14:10

“The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.” 

 

Bitterness and joy don’t mix. If you’re bitter, you can’t have joy. So pretty much, if you hold on to the hurt of what someone did to you and let it turn into bitterness, your life will lack joy. Is it really worth it?

 

Ephesians 4:31

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” 

 

So in addition to a lack of joy, you will be sinning against God since He says specifically in His word to put away bitterness. So let’s break this down: First you’re angry with the person and let that anger fester. Sin! Then you’re bitter. Another sin! Then, more than likely, you’re probably bad mouthing and slandering that person. Sin! So, in a nutshell, you have done all this sinning just because you refused to confront your sibling in Christ. Is it really worth it?

We don’t want to sin so let’s talk about confronting your sibling in Christ.

When confronting them, please, please, please remember that this is not an opportunity for you to give them a piece of your mind, go off, or tell them about themselves. No, it’s not. Even when confronting our siblings in Christ, we must do it in love. Yes, address the issue, but don’t take this as an opportunity to bring up every single mistake they’ve made or put a guilt trip on them. When confronting them, focus on the facts: what they did wrong and how that made you feel. Avoid using “you” statements as much as possible, “I” statements work best. Be aware of your tone; don’t be condescending or condemning. And please, please, please remember that once you hash it out, that’s it. Don’t bring it up 2 weeks, 2 months, or 5 years from now. Once you deal with it, that’s it. We need to take the same approach that God does with us when we sin against Him and we ask for forgiveness. 

 

Micah 7:19, 

“He will again have compassion on us;
 He will tread our iniquities underfoot.
 You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” 

 

Once we ask God for forgiveness, He takes our sins and throws them into the bottom of the sea and that’s it. He forgets all about them. God doesn’t bring up those sins and throws them back in our face. 

Now for the next step: forgive! After confronting your sibling in Christ, you must forgive them! Yes, this is much easier said than done, but it’s necessary.

Matthew 6:14-15, 

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

We forgive because God forgives us. We all sin against God everyday and need His forgiveness constantly. But if we don’t forgive, how can we expect God to forgive us? We can’t expect Him to be merciful to us if we can’t show mercy to others. With forgiveness, more often than not, it must be an act of faith. You may not feel like you forgive them, but living out that forgiveness is a huge step. By living out that forgiveness I mean walking in love towards them, being kind and cordial when you see them, not getting angry or having something negative to say whenever you hear their name…when you step out on faith and act out that forgiveness, God will eventually line your feelings up with your actions.

I know I’m probably beating a dead horse with this topic, but there is too much strife and unforgiveness amongst the body of Christ. Christians not talking to one another…holding grudges…it has to stop. Think about this: You are going to spend eternity, yes eternity, with these people so you better get it right now or you will have to deal with it when you get to heaven and, trust me, God will not accept any excuses.