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The power of confession

No I haven’t switched to Catholicism, although in other denominations of the Christian faith, I think we can learn from this practice…

This week I was reminded of something from my oldest son. He woke me up one evening to tell me he had been lying to me. He was crying and said that he needed to tell me and couldn’t hold it in anymore that he had been lying. His little 8 year old heart was being pricked by God to confess his sin. He told me that he had been skipping pages and not reading entire chapters in a book I was encouraging him to read. At first thought I was relieved that all he was lying about was reading… He even said he had come up with his own punishment which was being grounded for two days.

In that moment, I was reminded that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us. When we confess, God’s grace can abound. If we hold it in, we allow God’s judgment to come. As a parent, my heart softened because of my son’s brokenness. I didn’t want to ground him for two days because he confessed. Our sins still have consequences but when we confess again God is faithful and just to forgive us. My son’s punishment was to read with me the next day instead of being grounded.

My son didn’t see that I wanted him to try a harder book and see if he could enjoy once he got into the book. He also doesn’t understand that I’m trying to help him prepare for reading more difficult material in school next year.

Consider this example…Maybe God is allowing a difficult season in your marriage because you or your spouse is hiding something. If you confess your sin to your spouse and ask for grace, your marriage can be better than it ever was or you can wait until the truth comes out (which it will) and invite God’s judgment on your family…

Who can you confess to? God of course, wise friends, therapists, and/or clergy. Look for someone you trust who will speak the truth in love to you not what you want to hear.

James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Love,

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For those who hate Father’s Day, etc.

This time of year and other times such as Mother’s Day, Valentines, etc. are not exactly exciting for everyone. I read a story once about a prison doing a Mother’s Day project and the lines were so long for those inmates wanting to send their mothers cards. The project was such a success that they tried it again on Father’s day, however for Father’s day no one showed up to send a card to a father. My dad used to be a prison chaplain and he had all kinds of cards available to give to inmates. He took us to sing at the prison chapel often and we loved it as kids growing up. Those men were so receptive to God’s love and so humble too. Dad never threatened to leave us thankfully for bad behavior, although he may have been tempted..The sad reality is not everyone has a great father or mother for whom to buy a card. Also, someone could be grieving the loss of a great mother or father and these great displays in stores could be painful to see in stores. There are many reasons why one wouldn’t or couldn’t celebrate all of the holidays we have here in the US.

So, here is my suggestion..If you don’t have a good one (dad, mom, valentine, etc) adopt one. I adopt all types of family members even if I have a good one, fill in the blank. For example, if you don’t like your father or you miss yours find someone you admire, look up to, or are friends with and buy a card for this person. If you can’t find someone you admire, keep trying! Go out and meet some more people. Get off of social media and go meet your actual neighbor. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Let people love you and be friends with you. Open yourself up. I realize no one can replace a lost loved one but there are people still in your life that need the love you can give and who want to love you in return. Focus on the present and who you have and tell someone Happy Father’s Day!

Lastly, if you have a good one, be sure to tell him too!

Natalie

Romans 12: 8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

John 15:12-13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 

 

 

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Davidson college grads do not…

…talk about bodily functions or simply pass gas and make a big deal about it. This I know after a conversation with my boss. Her husband is a Davidson grad. My response was, “I wish my husband would have graduated from Davidson”. I’ve asked him to up our 529 plans for the kids in hopes that my stinky boys will go want to go to Davidson in the future. People belong to all types of groups, alumni organizations, clubs, churches, families, etc. I learned last week that Anderson Cooper is from the Vanderbilt family which owns a famous NC tourist home, the Biltmore House. Most of us are not from prominent families in the US or other parts of the world but we belong to something, someone, or some group.

I heard a great message this past Sunday night on belonging. It made me think about how what we belong to directs our actions. For example, as mentioned above Davidson grads. don’t do certain things. :). My husband, who is proud of his bodily functions aka smart but not a Davidson grad., went to a hairband weekend convention/concert or something over the weekend. He had plenty of time to people watch and see what some of the band groupies were like. He isn’t a groupie or even fan of this music, but his friends are so he went along on a road trip to hang out with the guys. Oh the things we can get ourselves into simply because of who we are friends with. Some good and some not so good. Maybe we are trying to wear certain brands, play on certain courses, or enroll our kids in certain schools..think about why these things matter to you in terms of a sense of belonging. Do they really matter or should they long term if this is all you think or talk about?

Who you consider yourself to belong to is foundational in your life. Being someone who believes in God makes a difference in my life. If I simply belonged to a family, a club, or a group these things can and will let me down, change, and/or fail me. However, I believe God will never change, is in control of all things and I believe that he will never leave me. I belong to God means I have hope. Also being a believer in Jesus and having the hope that he paid my penalty for all my wrongs, means I should a act in certain ways. People should see and feel love, joy, peace, forbearance (tolerance and patience when I’m annoyed), kindness, gentleness, and self control in me because I am loved and should love others in these ways.

God put a desire to belong in all of us, I believe to draw us to him. What are you putting in place of your true belonging. Is it more important that you are a crossfit junkie, a soccer mom, or even a church member than it is to belong to God in your life?

Consider who you associate with, who you or what drives your actions and choices, and who you belong to today and everyday and act accordingly. I also suggest acting like a Davidson grad in the way mentioned above even if you aren’t one!

Love,

Natalie

 

 

 

 

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Prom or allergy season?

As a teenager, I was excited and nervous about prom season. As an adult, I’m dealing with allergy season. My how life seems to change, yet in Ecclesiastes 1:9, the Bible tells us, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

I was going to write today about things we are “allergic to”. My son often says he is allergic to broccoli. I’m not even sure there is a such thing. Anyways, some people also act like they are allergic to certain types of people and squench (I made this word up) their noses at certain groups..maybe that group is teenagers. However, at this time of year at the very least think back to that glorious time in your life…or maybe the not so glorious time in your life…prom. Also, be thankful for those neatly dressed kids in restaurants during this time of year.

NERD alert: According to Time.com “The word prom is short for promenade, the formal, introductory parading of guests at a party. The prom can be traced back to the simple co-ed banquets that 19th century American universities held for each year’s graduating class. A growing teenage culture pushed proms younger and younger, and by the 1940s the adolescent dance we know today had almost entirely taken hold. In the 1950s, a thriving postwar economy allowed high schools to eschew the traditional gymnasium in favor of proms held in hotels or at country clubs. President Kennedy rescheduled a 1963 $1,000-a-plate fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton to accommodate a local school whose prom had been booked for the same time. In 1975, President Ford’s daughter Susan held her high school’s senior prom at possibly the best prom location ever: the White House.”

Recently, my very cool husband and I were asked to be chaperones for a young friend of ours and this person’s date for their prom dinner. Maybe the couple was desperate and we were the last resort, at any rate, I’m excited. I’m looking for a cool car to take them in, making sure they have a nice restaurant to eat at, and thinking of other ways to help them have a great time while their cautious, loving parents feel safe also. Of course, I also want their prom to be fun. My proms were a blast mostly because I went with people who were fun. One of my prom dates was so nervous…He has a supped up Toyota Camry…yeah baby… and when we were leaving the restaurant with our motorcade of friends, he put his brother’s car in reverse instead of drive and hit our friend’s 198? T-top camaro behind us…:) poor thing. I tried not to laugh too hard.

It is a pleasure and joy to have friends of all of ages. Don’t be allergic to young people. Embrace the next generation. If you embrace them, they may actually listen to what you have to say. Share your stories good and bad and listen to theirs too. They are the generation who will be making decision for us and influencing our children.

Enjoying the season while sneezing,

Natalie

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How to have no “ragrets”

A while back a good friend of mine was thinking about getting a tattoo so I decided to help her look for a nice one and found the one in the featured picture. I wonder if the person in the picture has any regrets about his/her tattoo.

As the new year begins, many people enjoy the idea of a fresh start, a new chance to make goals and work towards achieving those goals, or simply having a clean home after taking down all the holiday decorations. Personally, I enjoy getting back into my normal routine.

Unfortunately, many people begin feeling frustrated after a few months or maybe a few weeks of struggling with trying to achieve the goals set as the New Year started. Sometimes frustrations lead to regret. At times, frustrations simply mean you need to get your mind and will focused on the new change because it feels different. Frustrations shouldn’t lead us to quit altogether, but we may need to try something different or at least a different approach.

I’ve met many people who have regrets about their past or life in general. It often makes me sad to see people wish they could do things differently or feel like they missed out on something. One of the things I am appreciative of for being a Christian is that I don’t have to have regrets about anything in my life or feel like I’ve missed out on anything because the best is yet to come. As a believer in Jesus, I believe he has washed away all of my past sin and I don’t have to continue making bad choices because I have God’s help now to live differently. Of course, I still screw up daily but knowing God loves me enough to lay down his life makes me want to live differently. According to Revelation 21:5, “He will make all things new”. One day all will be new, our minds, our hearts, our past…

Also, I believe I won’t miss out on anything because in Heaven, I’ll live in a perfect world and get to do everything I didn’t get a chance to do in this life. The best is truly yet to come. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “…eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Enjoy having no regrets in 2016!

Natalie 🙂