Thursday, February 28, 2013
Blended families are tough. There's multiple parenting styles, multiple celebrations, multiple family traditions, all melting together somehow. Multiple opportunities to have conflict. Multiple opportunities to show grace.
We've had our share of conflict; every family does. But God is showing me that conflict brings with it a gift. That gift is grace. How we handle that conflict reflects how we let God handle our hearts and how we handle our own conflicts with God.
We can lash out at the other person, with shouts and claims of how right we are. We can sulk, and close ourselves off emotionally and physically, in an attempt to make the other person prove they deserve our love. We can give the silent treatment, and in turn give pride a stronger foothold on our soul. We can hold onto unforgiveness, and allow bitterness to grow in those richly fertile fields.
Or we can choose to work together for the common good. We can choose to remember that what we fight against is not each other, but the dark forces that are very much at work in the world. We can reach out and touch and remind one another that we are still here, still supporting even if we disagree. We can forgive and set our own souls free, and those that have hurt us, to be the beautiful creation God intended full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We can allow God to exercise whatever judgement He deems necessary for the fulfillment of His will.
I'm learning that I have a choice. Free will. I'm learning that blessings follow when I choose Jesus and His ways. I'm learning to step out of my comfort zone. I'm learning that forgiveness and grace are daily needs for all of us. I'm learning to slow down so that I can remember.
When I take the time to reflect on all of God's mercies in my own life, I can't help but want to pass those mercies on to others. But, when I allow my life to become full of activities to the point that I am passing myself on the stairs, I lose the ability to offer grace. I snap. I don't seem joyful. I trade peace for confusion and chaos. My kindness is not readily noticeable. Goodness is not my first thought. I become faithful only to myself. I have an edge I don't normally have. Self-control becomes a stranger.
Stepping out in faith is what brings the blessings. Stepping out in faith that God will provide, even when it seems impossible. Stepping out even when life screams for you to hold back. Stepping out into the beautiful life God created just for me, the life He created just for you.