Fruits of the Spirit + Courage

A co-worker gave me a calendar last Christmas from Hawaii as a gift. It has hung in my cubicle all year, most of the time on months past. I took it down to toss it, it was still hanging on the month of October. I flipped through the pictures and thought, this is pretty and I don’t want to throw it away. I saved it from garbage death. After all, scouts are thrifty! (#scoutlife)

Courage. It has been a word that keeps reoccurring lately. On Monday, I either read or heard that the root word of courage is ceur, or heart. Then I went to the dictionary and read the official definition: “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” Put those ideas together, they make a baby:

Courage is telling my story whole heartedly.

I doodled this definition and hung it on my cubicle wall. I grabbed the calendar and tore out a pretty picture of the beach. I cut out COURAGE and hung it by my little doodle. My friend Marlo swung by and complimented my word. She said, “I need one that says PATIENCE!” So I made one. I didn’t stop there. I cutout LOVE and JOY.

courage

Then I thought to myself, or God spoke to me. I like the latter idea better, He speaks in thoughts and this was totally not my idea anyways. I have to give Him the credit and the glory on this…He said “fruits of the spirit.” Then I thought, “gosh God…genius!!!”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:22-23

So I cut and cut and cut all week. It was my little project that I would turn to in between the phone calls and the emails and the boring work stuff. It became a beautiful release.

Yesterday while leaving the house, I snapped at my son. He peed on the toilet and was lying about it. Both pet peeves. When I got to work I looked at my phone and saw a text message, “stop slamming doors please.” This did NOT go over well in my head. I don’t even remember slamming doors, for the record. I wrote back multiple times without hitting SEND, thankfully! I spewed bad words to my husband and to a coworker and 2 dear friends. I wear my life on my sleeve, I can’t keep my emotions hidden. I turned to people I knew would tell me to let it go, and that it wasn’t even a big deal, and that I was only upset because of the real underlying issues, and that I shouldn’t take it out via text and blah blah blah. I have the best of friends and husband!

I started distracting myself to keep me away from my phone. I worked. I put some tunes in my ears. The thoughts kept coming and over powering every effort I was throwing out to get them to hush. Then I had a break in the work flow and turned to my last word. The last fruit of the spirit. SELF-CONTROL. And I laughed out loud, not just lolled…..way to go God! I see what You did there! Very clever. My anger suddenly stopped. Ha go figure! God is cool.

fruits

These words became a ministry. Marlo asked for patience and it was given. Self control drilled me in the face. It was a co workers birthday and I gave her FABULOUS and she gave me a smile.

Then an interesting co worker came by. He was in the army and has a bit of a short temper. He reminds me of the high school quarter back who peaked senior year and is now stuck in a job with a bitter attitude. But I like him, nice guy..sometimes. He complimented me on the words and hinted that I make him one. I choose BE STRONG. As in army strong…because ya know he’s an army guy. He just paid me another visit after noticing the period I cut out and placed at the end. Since his was a sentence and not a word it needed a period. I choose this small little tree hanging on by its roots. It is white knuckle rooting the side of this hill. Strong little thing. He likes the tree. He also mentioned that he once lived in Hawaii, which is the location of the photo words. Connection.

God is smiling on us and in us. He is softening hearts. I reorganized my cube today and put my words in a place that all can see as they pass by. I just found the same calendar in a coworkers cube on the verge of garbage death and I saved it. God has 11 new lives to touch with words.

The words will come. They always do with time.

Have a God-willed week friends. Will, not fill. That isn’t a typo.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:33-34

 Fruits explained:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:13-26

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The Weekend of Beauty From Ashes

I am a thrift store $1 picture frame hoarder. I repaint them and frame everything. One of the frames fell and broke, no heartbreak there because it was only $2. My son picked it up, he is 8, and said “Don’t worry mom! I got this. I will make beauty from the ashes!” This was on Friday. It set our theme for the weekend.

…Then came Sunday. I feel like I get stuck in those stupid revolving doors sometimes. I just keep circling. Just as I am about to step outside, that stupid door spins too fast and throws me back inside. Seriously.

I know I NEED to love. I know I NEED to throw away my resentments once they poke their little heads up and say “Yo! I’m here again!” But so often I just keep spinning…in the stupid glass revolving door. I can see the light, but I get stuck in my darkness which turns to shame when I see my son carry on my same behaviors. Monkey see, monkey do.

We often have karaoke parties at the house. Not our doing, not my house. Karaoke tunes are thrown against the walls and reverberate their squeals of pain, which creep under the cracks of all of the closed doors. There is no running away, especially when it is dark outside. (Trust me, I tried and running in the dark didn’t end well.) This is not a favorite past time. I would love karaoke if I could escape it or if it were an option. Usually these unwelcomed parties leave Eli and I locked in my room with some version of Harry Potter on the tele with volume cranked to 30. It is my small attempt to make the unwelcomed circumstance better. Because after all, we can’t control our circumstances, only our attitudes towards them…biting and cringing on my own words here. I’m such a hypocrite haha! Then I scan the rentals and apartments in the area and get depressed because to live in California, in our town, you have to have handfuls of cash falling from your pockets. I then realize I am stuck, and I sink into my dark spot where I lose my words and become a robot. and I HATE IT! I’m such a freaking baby. Pity parties are my specialty. And for the record I would never move out without my husband in tow, I would miss him terribly and be lost. It’s just a fantasy I play out in my head.

Well let me tell you…NOT MORE! NO MORE! I won’t sit there, in the dark anymore! That devil sneaks his way into my mind, and now I am saying no. This new found inspiration came from the 8 year old.

This time, the vice president of the pity party council said “NOT ANYMORE!!!!” Eli went upstairs, grabbed his guitar and my husbands laptop. He plugged in his amp, blasted some of his favorite Jesus tunes and sang, danced and strummed his little heart out. I emerged, pissy faced, from my pity palace and saw Eli wide eyed, crazy smiling and laughing and singing alone. I felt bad because he was alone, so I became the 1 woman audience. He said, “Mom! Guess what! I can play as loud as I want to because they can’t hear me over their own music! How cool is that!? Beauty from the ashes!” and I thought to myself “that stupid phrase I always say when he finds himself in an ugly situation, he is now using on my ugly situation for the second time this weekend. What a wonderful world it is!”

Then I walked into crazy loud karaoke room and saw my husband finishing up the sewing project Eli and I started this weekend, that I was too burnt out on to finish. In all the craziness, he was sewing. Yes, sewing. HA! I know…totally crazy!

So I smiled and went back to Eli and praised God for using Eli to pull me out of that stupid glass door. Then, I laughed at how small and insignificant my problems are in the shadow of the cross. My ego surrendered and retreated. Actually she was more crushed with humility.  And I was free from myself.

The only thing powerful enough to squish down my resentment is love. In memory of the beautiful MLK, he says “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Love wins.Heart Redemption is here.

Today I will choose to love hard instead of holding that resentment.

The cool thing about those circle glass doors, is that they are glass. You can see through them and to the other side. This is hope. It is setting my expectation, that I will get out. I can see it. All I have to do is make the move and step into love. The sunshine of love.