Forgive

Tattoo_it_on_your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby-Forgive

Relationship problems are the result of sin played out in that forum. Sin is the culprit- our own brokenness, the gap in our relationship with Christ- where we are, as opposed to where Christ would have us to be.

Sometimes I catch myself praying for God to change circumstance and behavior when what is needed is for God to change hearts. Our actions and reactions are merely a symptom of the problem. When God transforms a heart, the change will spill out to influence all circumstance and relationships. We need to treat the root, not the fruit, if we want true and lasting change.

When I focus on my unmet needs, nobody’s needs are met, because no one is serving. I’m just having a self serving pity party. If I want to see change, then I must change, and the only way that will happen is if I let Christ have His way in me. I must give Jesus the reins of my heart.

“Will the tears ever stop, Lord?”

You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? Psalms 56:8 (NKJV)

“Sometimes I think that must be a really big bottle, Lord.”

But to forgive the incessant provocations of life- to keep on forgiving the the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son- how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning what we say in our prayers each night,“forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Forgiving means letting go of offenses, not holding it against the person. It means wiping slate clean, canceling the debt, not retaliating.

What if I dared to speak the words I’ve never said?

What if I set them free from the captivity of silence?

Would the chains of pain be broken?

Or would the weight of regret be too great?

For once let loose I cannot call them back.

 “Lord…?”

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV)

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-  …A time to be silent and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7 (NASB)

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.Psalms 141:3 (NKJV)

Extending forgiveness requires humility, putting aside my pride, emotions. It means valuing relationships and being right with God over my rights.

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”Matthew 18:21-22

Life is too short and eternity is too near to be easily offended by those I am called to love. Bitterness is like barbed wire around a heart. The walls I build to protect my heart are the same walls which keep Christ and His healing out.

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:31-32

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.Psalms 147:3 (NKJV)

Rather than trying to fix others, I need to fix my relationship with Christ. When I let Jesus overhaul my inward man, the core of me, many of my relationship problems resolve themselves. He is the restorer.

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Matthew 7:4 (NKJV)

As the old song goes, “It’s not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”

I’m guilty, Lord.

Here I am

Forgive me

Heal my divided, renegade heart.

Deliver me from myself, my sin.

Change me, Jesus

I long for one accord with You

But I fail; I fall

Remember,

I am dust, Lord

Help me

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

You are The Way

Have your way in me

Burn up the dross

Make me pure

I want to love like You

Refine me until I reflect You

Jesus, my heart’s desire and delight,

Song of my soul

Form Yourself in me

I want to be one with You

Standing In The Need Of Prayer (Live)

I must extend forgiveness if I want to be forgiven, even if the other person is wrong and unrepentant. This requires a supernatural enabling.

How I forgive others = God’s grace extended to me in forgiveness

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because Christ forgave the inexcusable in you. -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Many times what God asks of us is impossible. He knows we will fail in our own strength. He want us to acknowledge our brokenness, failures, our need, so He can change and empower us.

Matthew West – Forgiveness (Lyrics)

Jesus didn’t just die for those who would accept Him. He paid the penalty for all the sins of those He knew would reject Him too. The sins of all humanity were borne on the shoulders of the great I Am.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

Jesus did His part. He paid the price and provides forgiveness- it’s available up front, but we must choose to accept or reject it.

We must let go of unforgiveness, of sin, if we want to receive the forgiveness He offers. We can’t hold on to both.

The reason people mistreat others is because of what’s broken in them. If I focus on their need for healing, the injustices I receive will be so much easier to bear. When I really pray for someone, not just for my vindication or relief, I find God gives me the heart, the grace, to forgive them. And besides, I need forgiveness too.

Regardless of the behavior of others, if I forgive them and yield to God’s refining of my heart and character through the circumstances in my life, I will be rewarded with a closer walk with Jesus and the peace that comes from a right heart.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalms 28:7 (NKJV)

Love is forgiving. Love is serving. We are commanded to love. When I set my heart and mind to love and serve others as Christ calls me to, even if it is unrequited, Jesus will fulfill me. There is joy and contentment when my heart rests in Jesus’ hands and I walk in His ways.

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 (NASB)

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Matthew 5:8 (NKJV)

Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9 (NKJV)

Rachael_M-Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart-Forgive

The Story Behind the Song, Forgiveness –Matthew West

Robin & Spencer’s Story

On January 26 2002 my life changed forever. My son Spencer Macleod was brought into the ER where I was working as a nurse, barely clinging to life from a stab wound to the heart. He was pronounced dead fifteen minutes later. It was then that I discovered his identity. He died coming to the rescue of…Continued at:  http://spencersmom.com/the-story/

©2017 Rachael M Colby    Tattoo It On Your Heart

#whyiteach

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TEACHER:   Texting you this… Need people to help remind me why I teach when I’m having bad days.

Teaching is one of the hardest jobs. You rarely ever get kudos. You mostly hear what you are doing wrong.

So, in those rare moments when the smoke clears, and you see what truly matters, and you see the little things you do, and the impact they can have, that is the gold you have to hold unto- or you will quit.

So Far Today:

I comforted and prayed with a teacher who just had a miscarriage.

I’m standing in the hallway welcoming students, hustling the stragglers to class. Glancing in my classroom, I realize one of my boys is crying. I motion him to come into the hall and he tells me his aunt died from a stroke last night. We talk, I give him a hug, and help him grieve.  He gives me permission to share with the class. His friends quickly change seats and circle him; No talking or touching; they are middle school boys after all. They support him by just being there. They take out paper and write notes of encouragement- without any prompting. #proud #whyiteach

All before 9:30am.

11:20am Update

Another student running up and down the hallway screaming and crying. Counselor trying to help. He refuses… I step into the hallway, take his hands, have him take deep breaths with me to calm him down so he can talk to the counselor without screaming. #whyiteach

Teaching is never about the subject you are teaching. It’s about showing compassion, how to grieve, process anger, express joy. So much emptiness and anger in my students- they just don’t know how to handle life. Happy that I can be here to help them.

Remind me of this when I’m having a really bad day.

Anyone who becomes a teacher because they want kids to learn a subject is missing a huge piece of teaching. I went into teaching because I want to teach children how to successfully live their lives, process emotion, and become productive people. The subject I teach has so little to do with what I really do.

“When will I use this?” they say.  (Algebra, science, etc..)

The answer is: “Who really cares? Will you remember that I taught you compassion when your classmate’s aunt died, that I held your hands when you just couldn’t take another step, that I told you I care about you?”

And yes, of course, I’ll give you another chance when you screwed up, yet again, in my class, because this is #whyiteach

Update 1:00 pm

Two boys try to fight in my classroom. Calmed them down and talked to them. One of the boys tells me he’s not really mad at the other kid. He just watched his dad get arrested and he’s really upset… Sigh.  #whyIteach

At lunch, the boy whose aunt died comes up to me. “I’m doing better,” he says quietly, and dashes away.

Last Block:

The boy who was crying and screaming in the hallway comes to class. He’s smiling now, and we’re just figuring it all out. It’s a good day. #whyiteach

I know I could get a job in a better district. My family asks me why I stay, all the time.

“Who’s going to teach them if I don’t?” I reply.

“Someone will,” they say.

“But will they care about them? Will they pray over their desks? Will they cry over them? Will they love them?”

I can’t walk away from these kids. Many of them don’t have adults that truly care. They are used to being thrown away, adults not sticking with them. I can’t be one of those people. Teaching is a calling, not a job. I have to teach them how to be cared for and to care for one another, to create community in the classroom. Once I’ve done this, and only then, can I actually teach them any academic content with success. This usually takes a few months to establish.

I have to teach them, I don’t know if someone else will care for them like I do. #whyiteach

A Few Weeks Later:

TEACHER:   Why do I teach again? My head hurts, my neck aches…

RACHAEL:    Because it matters- maybe for eternity for some of your students. Even though you don’t see it now.

Because they need you even when they don’t want you.

Because you may be the only love, the only Jesus, some will see today and over the next few months

Because you have to. It’s your calling.  #makeadifference   #youmatter

Because it costs more to quit than to carry on. #whyyouteach

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

*I received the above messages from a friend who is a teacher. She wishes to remain anonymous.

In honor of #TeacherAppreciationDay and #TeacherAppreciationWeek

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Please take the time to encourage teachers, not just this week, but throughout the year

© 2017 Rachael M Colby

Tattoo It On your Heart

Reasons Aren’t Excuses

DSC_0895-001Reasons aren’t excuses. God is fully aware of all my circumstances, but He doesn’t believe in situational ethics. He wants me to keep my attitude and responses in alignment with His Word, regardless of who is right or wrong.

I hear Jesus say, “Do you want Me to defend you, or do you want to defend yourself?” He lets me choose. Why do I  struggle with this? Why do I rush in and react, instead of waiting on God?

I know The Lord  is my defender,  and if I keep my heart right and stay out of the way, He will fight for me. In His time, He will right the wrong and truth shall prevail.

“But Lord,” I say, “this is hard, I just can’t seem to do this. I keep tripping over myself.”

Life is hard. It is bigger than I. I can’t bear it on my own. I’m nothing on my own, but His Word says,

My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.     2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

Jesus knows me, with all my failings, and loves me anyway. He expects me to fall. That’s how I’ll learn to walk. When I call, He hears my cry. He picks me up and says, “Lean on me. Try again.”

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.     ‭Psalms 141:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.‭‭     Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NKJV

© 2016 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart

The Measure of a Mom

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(Dedicated to my friends.)

Know this, Mom: You bring things to your family that they can’t hire out, buy out, or do without.

You can hire someone to clean, buy pre-made meals, and most of the toys and comforts you have you could do without. Yes, you have duties as a mom that you need to tend to well. But the love, listening ear, and wisdom you offer your children is irreplaceable. Your prayers, Godly testimony and teachings of Jesus Christ that you impart to your children are of eternal significance.

Rachael

© 2016 Rachael M Colby                          Tattoo it On your Heart

For the Prodigal’s Mom

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(Excerpts from an unfinished piece.)

Mama,
Don’t you know Jesus loves your children
Even more than you?

Pound the gates of Heaven, Mama
Pray without ceasing

Know the God of Heaven, inclines to your cry
He shares your passion for restoration of the prodigal child

So go ahead and cry Mama
But, make every tear a prayer
An offering of hope and heart

because your prayers are the rain
On the soil of your prodigal’s heart

Your prayers are the rain
On the soil of your prodigal’s heart

Your prayers are the rain
On the soil of your prodigal’s heart…

© 2016 Rachael M Colby                 Tattoo It On Your Heart

 

Sometimes it’s a God Thing

DSCF0515I stood in the kitchen on one of those mornings, feeling suffocated by the pressure of making decisions, afraid of messing up. The weight of responsibility and the barrage of demands overwhelmed me. I felt so distressed because I just couldn’t seem to make all the magic things happen for my children.

God, I’m failing as mother. I feel so inept, Lord.

But then I shook myself, looked at my beloved child and said, “I’m sorry; but all your dreams aren’t going to come true. And that’s OK.”

Yes, I actually said that. I know; it’s not very Disney-ish. But it’s truth!

Let me elaborate. The Bible says, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”   Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This is not to be confused with the idea that God will give us everything we want. Jesus is not a genie in a bottle. We can’t just clap our hands in prayer, then snap our fingers, and expect Jesus to do our bidding. Our wish is not His command. This scripture is about allowing God to change our heart, so He can deposit the desire for Him and His will in us. God is a good father. He loves us, and gives us the  best according to His plan. He is the Master Weaver and sees the big picture.

So, for all my children who weren’t there that morning, I will say it again. “Darling, Sweetheart, Honey; good morning. Hello, and wake up. I love you with all my heart. But all your dreams aren’t going to come true; and that’s OK. Sometimes it’s a God thing.”

And Lord, I will try to remember to rest in Your Word.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.     ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.     ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”     ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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A Perfect Mothers Day Gift

Last week the leader of our women’s Bible study asked us to share something we had learned as a mom, or from our moms. I sat terrified as she went around the room, wondering what my teen daughter would say. What if she didn’t have anything to say at all? God, I fall so short!

Finally, her turn came and this is what she said. “My mom taught us to adapt and be resilient, even in situations where we weren’t comfortable. And she really leans on God. When she’s having a bad day, she doesn’t go to anyone else. God is her go-to.”

Wow. Grace, grace, grace. She’s been sick this week and hasn’t been out, so she thinks she hasn’t gotten me a Mothers Day gift. But she did; she was three days early with it. All I really want from my children is for them to see Jesus in me and to love and serve Him. I want them to choose wisdom and apprehend the destiny Jesus has for their lives.

On our way home I thanked her for her kind and gracious words, and apologized for not being a better mom. She looked at me and said, “Why are you apologizing to me?”

“Because I wish I was a better mom. I just want you to know that I love you and I love God… And I’m trying.”

“No one ever thinks you’re not trying mom!” She interrupted.

“Oh. Then we’re good.”  🙂

 © 2016 Rachael M Colby                          Tattoo it On your Heart

Waiting for Perfect

I was waiting for perfect, but it never showed up. So I decided I’d better start the journey without it. I thought I needed to be the perfect Christian, wife, mom, have the perfect family and coin the perfect phrases. Then I’d have something to say. Then God could use me. I mean, who am I?

But it’s not about who I am; it’s about who Jesus is. I am made for His glory. It’s Christ in me. I’m His work in progress, and His mercies are new every morning.

This doesn’t mean I can succumb to slackness, for I believe good enough is not good enough. My work needs to be well done. God doesn’t expect me to give what I don’t have, but when I obey His calling, He makes up for my lack. He equips me. The question is, am I willing to be honest about my shortcomings, and let Christ change me?

Sometimes, there is pain in the process, but there is joy in the journey, as I allow Him to change me from glory to glory. My God is a restorer. That’s why He likes to show up when things are broken. But we have to give ourselves to Him.

“So, here’s my mess, Lord.”

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The Preacher said the power is in the going. The Bible says faith without
works is dead. And when God says
“Go,” we need to start walking.

Do you hear Him?

“Come. Walk with Me.”

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬
© 2016 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart