Die to Sin

When I heard those words, I didn’t know what that meant. Searched for days reading my Bible to understand what my place was in this turmoil of my heart. Months later, I am with the utmost reverence to Christ, thankful for His truth revealed to me providing more clarity.

Day complete

Like the sun going down to complete the day, my heart is complete in the words spoken to me today. Die to sin means, TRUST CHRIST! That is where I remain at peace. In all my desire to be a peaceful spirit, I can only trust Christ to console me and guide me. It is then, I feel complete.

Lean into Christ with all your anguish. He is the one that you need to cling to when you feel so distraught about the pain in your heart that appears once again. The evil one, your ego will try and define you. Come to know this truth. Be love, allow for others to express their love! Being centered in that love allows you to be in whatever circumstances, surrendered and remaining in your own uniqueness. With others wherever you are, you can genuinely remain connected to your inner power. Wherever you are, you can share your love and excitement for the sake of honoring your God-given gifts and it begins right where you are. Abhor evil and cling to Christ!

Holy Spirit lives in you and will guide you and fulfill you. Our struggles refine us and transform us into the character of Christ. Seek His Truth to come to know the very core of who you are. Love.

Honor Your Feelings

Love

Your feelings can help you navigate boundaries. When you are feeling violated, your throat may get tight and may be signaling to you of a boundary issue. Spend time searching for answers about your feelings. Find answers when you are unsure of what to do. This is my discovery of a situation.

I turned to friends asking them about my character. I searched in my Bible, read a book by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud. Boundaries: Updated and Expanded Edition. One idea struck me of how the Bible commands us to humble ourselves. They write that “If you do what you are able – confess, believe, and ask for help – God will do what you are unable to do – bring about change. (1 John 1:9; James 4:7-10; Matt.5:3, 6).”

My heart has been heavy with a situation I know needs changed. After a few days of processing how to deal with this situation, I heard the words in my mind, “Die to sin.” Initially I was thinking it related to jealousy. That didn’t feel quite right but it was the only thing I could come up with at the time that made sense. Later, after much more reading about boundaries I came up with my truth that I wasn’t jealous; I had exercised poor boundaries. When we are not equipping ourselves with knowledge around how to navigate this world, we fail ourselves and others. Natural instincts and learned behavior regarding boundaries can only take you so far in your growth and maturity for Christ-like character and holy living.

I am rejecting a place where I feel so much animosity. I am searching to find out how to protect myself in these kinds of experiences. I want to learn more about my character development. I acknowledge my intentions are not to hurt. And I am praying that God will reveal to me what I need to know and do, so that I honor my values. I do not want to hurt anyone and somehow I feel like I am. We can’t expect our character or other’s to be like Christ’s but we can strive for it to be, forgiving ourselves and others of our shortfalls.

Much of what I am reading relates to what I am experiencing. I am uncomfortable thinking that I was judging someone and confirm that it is rather discernment and is so crucial to our well-being so that we are not lead to sin. What I discovered in 2 Peter 3:18 “….they lure back those into sin, those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception.” This struck a chord with me. As I strive to be without sin, I need to have places I am learning in to be nurturing. We can all be sinners and you can choose to be with groups that are respectful. If they are not, it is okay to leave.

I discovered that in this environment I was feeling enmity. That was the first word that came to mind. I looked it up and enmity which in the dictionary I used says it is a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism. Animosity is what actually describes how I was feeling in this situation. Animosity is a feeling of strong dislike, ill will, or enmity that tends to display itself in action: a deep-seated animosity between two sisters; animosity against one’s neighbor.”

Well, I don’t want to have that feeling or do I like that feeling! So what I learned in boundaries is that you have to remove yourself from it. I was not comfortable talking with this person. I don’t trust them and I fear that they would try and twist my truth or tell me they are sorry and continue with the behavior. I had removed myself for a few years in this situation and felt discord thinking I would never go back.

I went back. When I did, I felt the same way again. 2 Peter 2 also tells us that you are a slave to whatever controls you. I won’t be controlled by feelings that leave me distraught. I can’t change the person causing me this pain, so I leave. I feel like I have the skills now to carry forward in this type of situation. This is where one can feel joy except in this case, I don’t yet because I have another lesson to learn. I am joyful in that I have learned how to confront the issue next time I have this experience with someone. But in this situation I have no trust. That is the part that I need God to reveal to me next. I now need to know how to leave someone without ever feeling guilty because I didn’t give them a chance to hear how and why what they did caused me animosity. But….I do believe in my heart that they do know. And I will never be sure. But I do know that God will reveal to me what I need to do. Forgiveness has always been there and much love for this person. I just can’t take this hardship any more. There were many times they crossed boundaries. Had I had the skills and knowledge to exercise my boundaries in a constructive way I would have. But frankly, I felt like I was already up against a defiant person.

So then I go on to read 2 Peter 2 and it says that when we “get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, we are worse off than before. It would be better to have never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the proof of this proverb, “A dog returns to its vomit. Proverbs 26:11 and another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” I was feeling the same feelings over again. I could not handle it! So the best thing for me to do was to leave. Clearly things had not changed.

I encourage all of us to ask for help! Understand that we are all sinners and that we all have a responsibility in our conduct. I am not perfect and I am trying to change my ways. The point here is that if ever any of you are feeling like you are being mistreated or in a situation that is causing you to sin – leave. Young readers, ask an adult to help you. Find someone you can trust and tell them!!! I am thankful that as I seek God’s instructions that he leads me in such a way that he does not want me to condemn anyone rather know the truth and follow his commands to help yourself from committing sin. That is where you can find freedom that is also referred to in 2 Peter.

There is a full reading in the Holy Bible. Anything you need to know about living out this life as a Christian is in there. We can only be perfect in our maturity level. Christ calls all of us believers to excel, rise above mediocrity and to mature in every way to become like him. I encourage you to be patient in learning what you are curious about. We can’t expect others to be perfect but we can recognize when environments are not healthy for us. Pray for God’s will on earth as it is in heaven!

May you find helpful information here and if I have misconstrued any of God’s Word, I pray that He will be your teacher in setting you straight or me straight. When we seek to understand His commands, we really do find freedom. I pray that I don’t trip anyone up from being a Christian. I confess that my behavior does not reflect that in which I strive to be like. I have much more to learn. I also know that I can walk beside this person that I have strife with and I vow that I would support them if ever they asked me to. Time does heal all wounds. I have been through many excruciating acts of forgiveness and this one is different from the others. I actually am thankful for this lesson and strife because I know it is only purifying my heart. But I encourage those with my story to be overcome with the truth so that you may at least try to live your life out according to which we are to conduct ourselves.

God will take care of us if we allow him to. I love the discipline I receive from him. I really do experience the freedom when I do. I hope that you are able to go in peace to love and serve the Lord! ~ Susan Husa

Silver Lining of Expectations

Shadows of doubt can hinder one's journey

Shadows of doubt can hinder one’s journey

Going about my merry way I witnessed a mom roll her eyes when she was asked about her son. She said she wishes that he was doing things differently in his life. I couldn’t help but wonder why she thinks he needs to be doing things differently and what at this point has inspired him? If he’s living with a parent that wishes he was doing things differently, unless of course it is something harmful, that parent is subconsciously exuding a negative attitude toward him thus creating underlying friction, ultimately wrecking havoc on the relationship. By acknowledging her son’s decisions, a conversation would take place for her to understand why he is making the decisions that he is. For example, let’s assume the son wants to take a gap year before going off to college. If she simply says, “Wow! I’m surprised to hear you say that. Tell me more about what you are thinking in terms of what you would like to do in the interim?” She now has the opportunity to discuss his view. 

Knowing this young man is a senior in high school, I found myself wondering what conversations may have taken place over time in the home to build trust? How did she handle conversations related to emotions? It seems that struggling with emotions without a grasp on how to label them would hinder one’s maturity. Was this going on in their home? Did her son feel he was violated or not fully accepted? Was he ever able to express his thoughts or have help labeling his emotions? Teens are bombarded with social aspects and hormones that contribute to their struggle and development. As a parent, it is our responsibility to help our children navigate these bumpy roads. Hoping our kids make different choices may actually hinder their progress as they discover their true identity.

It may seem like teens don’t want to engage in conversation but think twice! What they think is real and what we know, is that they need help sorting it all out. Who do you want leading them? Finding a time to be one-on-one in conversation is key to building trust and a place for them to reveal their thoughts. It has been said that if a teen is struggling, one of the best things you can do is go for a drive and drive for as long as you need to until they open up.

This poor mom, one might think, must feel unequipped. We only have so many tools before we head back to the hardware store for more. Helping our kids grow up is not an easy task. Researching, asking others who have gone before and applying principles of love enables us to help them be their best. Teens need tools just like adults. Engaging with teens emotionally and intellectually builds healthy relationships and fosters mentoring for the many challenges they face.

Do you suppose, had the mom turned the thought around, that perhaps she should be doing things different in his life? That maybe she might be able to be more at ease with his decisions? That he would feel accepted if she did? Allowing our kids to explore within the confines of house rules helps them with their own decision-making skills. These practices of acknowledging and engaging in conversation about their actions and motives builds trust. Humans want to belong and impress. To whom do you want your kids to impress? I hope it is you as the one that they can trust and rely on. Your home then rests in love and respect. Ideas are honored, accountability resides, discovery is encouraged, structure reflects boundaries and forgiveness is vital when we make poor decisions. Our leadership in the home prepares them for the leadership they seek and experience outside the home. The bumpy roads they experience living on their own hopefully are overcome by way of consulting with their Creator. There the silver lining of expectations exist. Pure and of truth.

Why I Named My Blog fiveof9

Thoughts transformed

With love in her heart, a mother tells her story.

Contemplating blogging was challenging enough.  “What is blogging,” I wondered, and “How do I do it?” After reading several blogs I realized that blogging is simply someone typing out their thoughts as they ponder them. So what can be so hard about blogging once a week or daily? Time, passion, values, commitment, choice…those are a few of the reasons one would consider, prior to answering the question, “Why I named my Blog fiveof9.” The reason I named my blog fiveof9 is because I am the fifth child of nine my mother gave birth to. I liked spelling out five and using a numeral for nine.

Using this name gave me an “identity” as a blogger.  Something fun and intriguing I figured. My true identity is simply that I am a child of God. That is my identity that grounds me in all of my decisions, actions and relationships.

The fact that I was the fifth child born gives me a “rank” that many in our culture will give much attention to. The belief that children born in between siblings tend to have certain behavioral traits that first or last child don’t. Rather than identifying myself with such mayhem, my identity in Christ is much simpler in that it encompasses one word and that word is, Love.

Love is what I move forward with and in. This side of Heaven (here on earth) I reside in my flesh and strive to be of love in all my encounters. I don’t always live up to that but it is always my goal. I allow myself the pleasure of grace as Christ has done for me.

To those of you that actually take the time to read this: May the love of Christ, by your choice of accepting Him in your heart, be the everlasting state of your heart and soul to share with others.

S T R E T C H I N G for Christ

Make the world a little kinder

Make the world a little kinder

As a homemaker and mother of two, my kids have always been a top priority. Understanding who Christ is, my first! Growing up, church was a place we went to every Sunday and Wednesday for catechism. What struck me a few years back about this schedule is that attending these services instilled in me some great truths and a great deal of memorized ritual. The values instilled in me are still with me today and my children experience that as a result.

Being a homemaker has it’s many challenges. Working solo is great, yet there are times when it seems so mundane and some days can be overwhelming. When I am feeling that way, I am thankful for the freedom I have to sit down in that moment sometimes and study my Bible. I marvel at the truths that have been revealed to me over the years. And as I am guided, my home reaps the rewards of my obedience.

Working through all my shame, learning what forgiveness means and finding out what “It’s not about you,” truly means, has allowed me to be a more peaceful mother. Letting go of all of these burdens has allowed me to break free of the perception of who I labeled myself to be. Going about my day is “all about me” in my actions about Him!

Looking up.

Looking up.

When my actions are about following Christ, I am S T R E T C H I N G for Christ. I am practicing every moment. I’m far from perfect! Obedience requires me to stretch!  I marvel at how much my attitude and actions have changed over time and I am truly thankful. The transformation of my soul because of my belief in Him humbles me. The confidence I once knew is buried and overcome by confidence of truth now.  The peace from trusting in Him is hard to describe. It surely has influenced my home.  The stretch is for Him and it is the power of the Holy Spirit that I am thankful for.

Making Christ a priority has molded me into the follower He so desires. I will never be perfect on this side of heaven but following a leader that is with me 24/7 simply guarantees that no matter what, He is always there. I have a Master with a plan, and in stretching myself in whatever direction, He will always be my center.

Homemaking is so rewarding. Following Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to move me is the best therapy, I could ever ask for. My faith has moved me into a new way of thinking and doing. I no longer need a “worldly” attitude to maneuver through society. Leading by example is one tough act to follow but I’m sure going to give homemaking my all by following a leader I can trust and am eager to obey. The reward is more than words can describe and homemaking has never been better.

Home is where the heart is.

Home is where the heart is.

May the love that Christ has for you and your home, give you guidance and an eager heart to understand all He so desires for you so that you too can experience a little of that most-wonderful feeling that permeates your soul and ultimately your homemaking.

Free With Respect

Reflecting pool of love.

Reflecting pool of love.

Free with respect? Is that what your home envelops? As “mom-in-chief” you can fill these shoes. Simply, it is our most-urgent necessity for respecting ourselves and those we nurture. How free from self-doubt, for the sake of respect, are you and how is that helping you nurture those in your home?

When you reflect love, feeling complete, freedom from condemnation, worth, acceptance, grace and truth, your interactions allow those that live with you to explore their reflection.  When you reflect control, fear, pride, comparison, competition, revenge and legalism so might those you influence. Build what you reflect, upon the strength of your Maker! He will encourage you and mold you into His most-desirable state. Submission and obedience unveils revelation and instills the core of which you were intended.

We see our kids best not with a magnifying glass, but with a mirror.

We see our kids best not with a magnifying glass, but with a mirror.

Clarity. Action. Perseverance. You are an amazing mother, with good intentions for those you are caring for. Be free from anything that takes you away from loving and caring for each other. Marvel at the fruits of your labor experiencing the maturity of growth. Both in yourself and those you are yielding to. Watch them in awe. Did you ever plant a seed and marvel at the force in which it was able to sprout out of the soil? Marvel at the strength it takes those you care for (that includes yourself) to move through their walk. Enable them to experience and discover who they are In-Christ.

With respect, truth and grace, nurture their nature. Establish the ground so that water will flow to their roots and allow them to grow free (In-Christ) with respect (to themselves and others) in their environment.

How do these words of encouragement, reflect my nature of growth, and encourage you?

With love.

Don’t Make Your List Your Master

dental and PTWith my eyes closed, the warmth of the covers embrace the new day. “Good morning dear Heavenly Father!” As I pray in thanks for a new day, it is not long after that I am pondering tasks for the day. Sipping my cup of “joe”, I relish the moment of peace and quiet. Centered In-Christ, I think about the list of things to do for the day. Somehow within the time I start thinking about all that I need to do and want to do, I lose my grounding and fall easily into such a negative mode! I think, “Where did my Father go?” Well, “He never left!”

Staying grounded is more of a question of, “Where did my thoughts go?” Sometimes homemaking can seem so arduous and isolating. I do love the autonomy though of being a homemaker and leading the charge. It’s the self-discipline that I continuously bargain with every day in my thoughts, my feelings of being overwhelmed and my actions that prove it. Without discipline I lose focus. Subsequently, lack of prioritizing and follow-through results into negative thoughts. Keeping perspective is challenging while being productive in the home.

Staying productive throughout the day is certainly attainable. There is only so much time in a day to devote ourselves to the purpose of our being. Planning your work and working your plan is an idea I learned many moons ago. Ya think I might use that! I love making a list to start my day and marvel at how many times I am distracted just trying to accomplish and focus on one of the tasks. A productive homemaker is one that continuously realigns their priorities throughout the day. Read that again!  Each day the demands of motherhood can move us off-track of what we set out to do.  Making a plan and having some “wiggle” room can alleviate a lot of unwanted negative emotions.  Knowing that your focus on your list will require flexibility.

Let’s simplify “productive.” Make a list of all the things you want to have done. Organize it into three groups, 1) tasks that need to be done today, 2) tasks that take more than one day and 3) tasks that require someone you hire, for example. The list of tasks on your daily list may include, prayer time, assemble lunches, make appointments, shop for project supplies, schedule/research vacation, call/read for advice, make dinner, shop for the week, clean floors, brush cat, family meeting, date with spouse, child or friend, help with homework. Tasks that take more than one day may include, plant a garden, hang collage of pictures on wall or perhaps build something. Tasks that require hiring someone like a remodel or home maintenance project.  Now go back over each group assigning tasks from each one to your daily list. Keep in mind things like phone calls, interviews and trips to stores. Each item listed requires an action from you to complete the project. Since you only have so much time in one day, only add what is doable in one day. This process helps you visualize what you can complete each day without getting overwhelmed with the whole picture. Looking at your list may seem overwhelming but it allows you to look at all the things you see as being important or of interest to you in your life.

There is only so much time in one day. Making that initial list is going to be key in showing you how much you would like to get done. This is your reality check!!!  Breaking that list down so you have manageable time each day to complete each item contributes to establishing self-discipline and direction. As you practice this routine, what you can accomplish in a day will become more realistic. Your choices each day become more directed and purposeful.  This process shows you what you choose to incorporate into your day. Whether it is perusing the internet, social media, caring for your family and home or a hobby, these priorities you are choosing give you a perspective of what you value.

Align yourself with your Master! (Caution: Don’t make your list your master) Make your list, refine your list, and move forward giving thanks throughout your day as you serve your Master, extending grace as it is given to you. Practicing these simple ideas may assist you in your selfless acts of love resulting in peace within yourself.  Being mindful and at peace is then projected in everything you do.

May your day be filled with laughter and love as you complete each task you have put before you. Be thankful. Share your discovery with others on this post so they too can overcome the idea that we don’t need to make our list our master!

Happy homemaking today!