The Sisterhood of Messy Hearts #Grace

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She was the funniest girl in school with the coolest clothes. Everyone wanted to sit by her at lunch, but she decided who did. She formed a club and chosen members met on Friday nights at the skating rink.

Then her parents got a divorce. She told fewer jokes. The trips to the skating rink stopped.

I found her crying one day, and my sixth grade heart hurt because her world was falling apart. I could have been a good friend. Not like the one’s talking behind her back … but she wouldn’t let me.

Just like the popular girl in sixth grade, big girls have holes in their hearts too. We all have secrets, heartaches, betrayals and shameful details.

Wary of trust, a wall goes up blocking sweet connection on a Jesus level.

That’s exactly what the Devil wants when it comes to sisters in Christ.

When he separates us … he causes unity to fade.

With the fading of unity … the kingdom’s work is stalled.

So what is the solution?  What can we do?

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If we really want change … we have to be willing to change.

The scriptures say …

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3

The Greek interpretation for the word esteem means to lead … or go before. This made me think about not only putting others before myself … but taking the lead in loving my sisters first … before they love me.

I ache for this holy sisterhood to bond through the beautiful redemption process … to be real on a come to Jesus level … to find sincere connection and genuine grace.

What could happen if we all take the lead to love first?

What would that look like?

Perhaps a good starting place is putting our sister’s feelings before our own, letting selfishness fall to the wayside.

What if we put away all unfavorable perceptions and think only the best about our sister … instead of judging her in specific measures?

What if we forget previous clashes and renew our thoughts?

What affirmation for her if we’d speak truth in kindness, encouraging and praying for her.

What if we keep secrets in perfect trust and serve her in ways glorifying to our Father?

And because we are terribly flawed and we will fail her … we humbly ask for forgiveness … as we forgive.

You see in order for this sisterhood of messy hearts to flourish in Christ … grace must go both ways.

Oh what beauty is found in grace.

What hope is exchanged in love.

What redemption is mined from humility.

The meekness of a messy sisterhood can be a beautiful tapestry of merciful grace … if only we’ll take the lead to love first.

So tell me sister … will you take the lead?

When We Choose To Believe The Worst

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She was funny. Kind. A go-getter. She definitely knew her stuff … and was nothing like the horror stories I’d been told. And trust me … the stories were not good.

I was new to the company and it was my first time meeting the regional manager.  I was quite nervous … but pleasantly surprised when she finally arrived at my store.

We got along well. We accomplished much … and though she was 20 years younger, I realized this young lady had paid her dues and worked hard.

At the end of the visit, I told her ….  “Dayna, you are nothing like I expected.” Her reply … “Yea, I know all about the rumors that fly from region to region because I do my job by the book. But that doesn’t matter to me Melanie, I’m a rule follower. Those that don’t follow the rules will always have a problem with me.”

That was a valuable lesson for me that blead over into my faith.

A very wise man named Bryan, once taught me …

“We must always believe the best about our brothers and sisters in Christ …   regardless of what we have heard or think.”

Every time I meet someone who’s reputation precedes them or is attached to questionable and spicy details … I remember this.

There is scientific proof that every time a story is retold … the individual telling it manages to embellish it a little in some way.

And then we decide to believe it.

As my daddy always told me …

“There are two sides to every story.”

It takes two to tango … and somewhere in the middle is the truth. Chances are … the real truth will get lost in translation.

So why should it matter to a Christian if the story is accurate, partially accurate … or not?

How should we handle our attitude when we’ve been told details that may or may not reflect this person’s true character or what really happened?

When we allow the influence of the relayed story … to affect our opinion of this person … or it causes us to judge this person’s every motive … or treat them different … we do the Father no good in this grace exchange.

In a court of law, a story being retold by a third party is called “hearsay” and it’s not allowed to be considered by the court for the final outcome.

If only we could adopt this “hearsay” policy as Christians, my, my… what the body of Christ would look like?

Honestly ask yourself these questions.

Every time I see this person am I mentally recalling the relayed experience?

Have I purposely withdrawn from or excluded this person?

Am I guilty of examining their motives?

Is there something deep inside of me that wants to believe the worst about this person?

If so friend … we might as well throw grace out the door and stop saying we believe in the redemptive blood of Jesus … because regardless of what did or did not happen … we are not obeying the Matthew 7 principle …

“Judge not … that ye be not judged.”

We are merely sitting ourselves up for the same standard that we are practicing … in regards to how poorly we are treating them.

Let’s just look at this from another angle.

So let’s say it is true? Do you want to be reminded of certain things you did wrong in the past? Especially if you are trying to live for Christ?

I don’t know anyone who’d want their past rubbed in their noses, would you?

That is a tactic of the Devil called condemnation … a blood bought Christian who claims to love Jesus does not condemn.

And then what if you find out one day … the story was not exactly accurate? What if the story was told from a guilty …  angry … jealous … or even vindictive perspective? Or what if you learn the person isn’t at all what you were deceived to believe?

What a weight that would be right? To think we judged someone based on another’s lies, misinformation or our own condemning thoughts. WOW.

And a key point to remember … everyone is flawed … every single one of us.

So the next time we are tempted to treat someone different based on what we’ve heard …

Try to remember this … Satan is running circles around us … whispering untruths, dissension, accusations and condemnation in our ears.

I know you are thinking …. how can we know if what we are hearing is from the Devil?

If the thoughts you are having contradict God’s commands … then your thoughts are from the Devil.

If the thoughts you are having creates animosity, criticism, confusion, anxiety, disunity or dissension … instead of peace … then your thoughts are from the Devil.

Or if the thoughts you are having are full of condemnation … rather than grace … guess what?  Your thoughts are from the Devil.

Choosing to believe “hearsay” speaks volumes about our character.

The only truth we know is … we will never know what really came down in certain situations concerning relayed stories. And … we will never be able to correctly judge someone’s character or motives … period. We’re not God.

None of us want someone to think the worst about us right?

So because of this fact it’s important to remember …

We are all terribly, flawed humans … therefore, we must operate in grace … because grace gives birth to grace …

And dad blame it …how lost would we be without grace?