Reconciliation

Resolution is Not a Two Way Street

Romans 12:18 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.

I didn’t know what I was going write about today, but God in His goodness (and sometimes cheekiness) knew and gave this to me on a very personal level. This is my testimony of how the Holy Spirit has been working in me.

God gave me this verse a number of months ago prior to losing a very close relationship with two friends. I loved these friends, as much as I could feel love at that time. Then, a spirit of seperation entered into the situation. Harsh words were spoken and the rift began to grow. Circumstances that followed the beginning of the rift, only served to widen the gap until it felt as though we were sepereated by a giant, uncrossable chasm. I was absolutely bereft. It was during this time that my oldest son left to be a US Marine. As you can imagine, the pain I was experiencing seemed insurmountable. I had just lost my two best friends, and my son. I heaped all of this pain onto them. I became angry on the surface but the real feeling was a deep sense of loss and hurt. I was broken. I felt I had done nothing to cause any of what was going on, and I may not have, but the fact remained that I blamed them for my anguish. This, for the past year, has held a grip on me. I just thought after a while, that it would always be this way. I thought the pain was here to stay.

Then it happened. God reminded me of this verse last week and also told me that I was holding onto unforgiveness and He said, “This is not yours. This is not what I want for you. I have shown you love, it’s your turn.” So, I said to Him, “OK, but I need You to orchestrate the meeting. It has to be done supernaturally because, I am sorry but I just can’t do this on my own.”

I had thought about this on and off since last week but I didn’t seriously consider it until today happened. Upon picking up my youngest son from school I had decided we would go have coffee together. I asked him, “Where do you want to go?” My heart did a flip flop, and I knew God was giving me the opportunity to follow what He wanted me to do when my son answered, “The Cafe'” I knew my old friends would be there. God, was also giving me an out. I could have easily told my son, “No, lets go somewhere else.” But, because of my experience with God, I knew the right thing to do was to honor Him and ask forgiveness for my part, which was the anger, and the hurt I had been holding onto.

I was surprised to say the least, at the reaction I received going into the Cafe’. They welcomed us. We ordered and I chatted with some other people I hadn’t seen in quite some time. During this time, God reminded me that as far as it depends on me, that means, I have no control over what they do or how they respond, but only my part. Before leaving, I asked for forgiveness. Specifically, I said, “Will you forgive me for my hurt and anger”. She turned to me and said, “Yes.” Simple as that. I am really glad that I followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit. God is a God of healing. He can heal relationsips. He can restore burnt bridges. I don’t know if I have truely been forgiven by her or not but I forgive both of them and God is healing me. Whatever happens now, is in God’s hands. It always was, but I had free will. I am glad I chose God’s will over my own. I don’t know if the relationship will be retored or not and that is OK with me because, I know now that as far as my part, I can live at peace. I can explore the fullness of God’s love in my life, and I am learning what it means to live and love unconditionally. Wether or not the love is reciprocated, I know that Jesus is proud of me and I know that I will be OK.

Follow Me

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Race the Clock.”

Daily Prompt: Here’s the title of your post: “An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse.” Set a timer for ten minutes, and write it. Go!

As I sat in a small coffee shop called Journey Cafe’, working on my latest novel, I began to listen to the people around me. I was a Buddhist at the time but often felt something was missing from my life. I was often lonely and very much a recluse inside my own head.  So, when I heard those around me talking about the fulfillment in their lives, love, peace, and understanding. I was hooked. I returned to the cafe day after day to work on my book but to mostly listen.  After an uncertain amount of time had passed, I began to question the owner about his Christian beliefs. I was relentless in my pursuit to see if he actually lived what he was speaking of.  This is how I was introduced to the Living God, Jesus Christ. It seemed I couldn’t get enough of hearing about Him. I wanted more and more glimpses of this joy that those around me were speaking of. I didn’t yet have it myself or even know that it was possible for me.  I know now that I was being pursued by God. The prompting of the Holy Spirit had entered into my heart.  I simply could not get enough.

Finally, one day, I said, “That is what I want! I want to feel that joy,”

It was then that the offer came that I couldn’t turn down. Would you like to pray with us and meet Jesus.  I said that I did and Rick Merling and Cindy Bolf lead me in the life giving prayer to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him into my life.  Little did I know my whole life was about to change.

From that moment on I was overtaken by the Holy Spirit. I grew in faith at an astounding pace. My thirst and hunger for the Lord and His word and promise was never sated it only grew and grew.  A short while later I was baptized and met the next person who would change my life forever, Joyce Waite, a Christian councilor.

I had been going to church at Christ Vineyard, in Owosso, for a few months and would ask a lot of questions. Many of them were a round about way to escape the darkness I had inside myself.  You see, my past life left me feeling very lost, very alone, and very broken. Joyce, through the power of the Holy Spirit, picked up on this and one day as I was leaving church, offered me counseling. After considering it for a week or so I accepted the offer I couldn’t refuse.  She walked me through, very patiently, some very dark memories. I can’t say that it was ever easy, because it wasn’t. What it was though, was a journey of healing, of finding God in the most unlikely of places, and most importantly it was a journey toward freedom.

I can honestly say, that I would not be where I am today, if I had not accepted the offers I couldn’t refuse. I walked into the life and light of Jesus and out of the inner darkness.  I am made whole through Jesus Christ and I am ever thankful to Rick and Cindy who first introduced me to a life with Christ and Joyce who showed me the way out of my inner hell.

Spoken

A Moment Can Change Everything or Nothing

You never know who your friends are until they know you. I mean, really, know you. Secrets are a dark place. It often takes great effort to keep them, especially if they are secrets of trauma, injustice, or hurt. We all have secrets. It is my fervent prayer that your secrets are only of good things but often that is not the case.

Sometimes those dark secrets bubble up in us until the words, we find, are on our lips seemingly of their own volition. It is so important to reveal these secrets in a safe place; a councelors office, or in the privacy of an intimate relationship, or with those you have confidence in and trust. There is occassion however, when the words come unbidden and you have to place your trust, however fragel, in the hands of those whom the truths of the darkness were revealed. It is at this time, that it is essential to not beat yourself up for speaking out. Whats done is done and there is no drawing back of words once spoken. This is how you will find out who your friends are. Some people will draw away, a natural response to not knowing how to respond. Some people will support you, pray for you, and reguard your words as bravery even if they came as a result of “word puke”. Those, the ones who do not abandon you, are to be called friend.

Healing of those dark places can come from this unintentional spilling, and from finding Jesus in the midst of those secrets. Secrets take on a life of their own within our psyche and our soul. They may start out as a ball of darkness that we just keep swallowing down. Each time we swallow the words, the ball becomes bigger and bigger. It becomes somewhat ravenous to be exposed, and will try to escape at any open oppertunity. However, exposing the secrets can sometimes cause more trauma if not handled in an appropriate manner by someone who knows how to bring Jesus into the situation, who knows how to bring thruth to where the lies are rooted.

In our secrets, the lies of the enemy just keep growing because we have given a foot hold. We may feel revulsion not only at the secret we are keeping but toward ourselves because of lies we believe about ourselves. Let me tell you right now, that anything negative you are feeling about yourself is a lie straight out of the pit of Hell, because God does not see you that way and God is Truth. Jesus can shine light where there was once only darkness. The chains that bind us can be broken and those secrets and lies, once Jesus is involved, can hold no power over us. Our power comes from the Lord Jesus! The word of God says explicitly, in 2nd Tim 1:7 For god has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind. So anything that we feel about ourselves, and our secrets, that is anything but this, is a lie.

Were you hurt? Jesus was there and protected you because you are here reading this now. Were you abandoned? Jesus is there for you, He says, I will never leave you or forsake you. Were you neglected? Jesus is there to make whole what was broken.

No matter what you are going through right now, no matter what secrets you are keeping, Know this. You are the beloved of God. That is how He sees you. He is not looking at what is wrong with you because He only sees you through the eyes of Jesus. His beloved child. He cherishes you more than you ever dreamed possible. We are so loved. We are His beloved.

If you don’t know this loving God of whom I speak, contact me and let me introudce you. It is one thing you will never, ever regret.

Out of my own healing, I love each and every one of you. Be well Beloved, release the darkness and come into the light. There is healing. There is wholeness for I am not a sick person seeking wholeness but a whole person living in freedom.

From Complaint to Praise

Do everything without complaining or arguing
Do everything without complaining or arguing

One of the most important lessons I have learned is to trust Jesus. I have learned to lean on God’s understanding rather than my own, but like most people I am not perfect. Sometimes, I act like a stubborn child and I love how the Lord reacts. God never corrects with shame, guilt, or condemnation. Instead, he corrects in a way that makes me feel more loved and cherished. He responds in a way that makes me want to do better next time. Let me give you a recent example of an experience I had with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

First, I was at work when I learned that we would be having the weekend off. God had already been telling me that I needed to rest but I, in my human thinking, had decided that I really needed to work the weekend to pay off some debt. Well, let me tell you; God was having none of that and orchestrated for me to have three full days and two nights off work. Before the time off came, the Holy Spirit lead me to read in the Bible the story of the mustard seed. What this says is that, though it is the smallest of seeds, when it grows up its branches are huge enough for the birds of the air to find rest in. It is a parable to illustrate how the smallest seed of truth in God’s word can become a protective place with God but to me at that time the Holy Spirit was telling me that the coming rest was from God. He strongly advised that I take the rest. He can be quite stubborn Himself, I assure you!

When I learned of the time off, I complained to a co-worker, “I can’t afford that!” I was basically grumbling. This was on a Monday. During the week, my work station was changed over to very heavy parts. After 3 days of that I was asked to work in a station where a male coworker had gone home sick. These parts were heavier, then on the last day I was asked to spend two hours working the heaviest parts in the shop. As I left the shop that Friday I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude toward God for the time off. It was only then that I remembered what He had been telling me.

1. You need rest.

2. I will make the rest possible.

3. I know the end from the beginning. Trust me.

So, first the Father told me I needed rest. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me and guided me in reading and understanding from God’s point of view the parable of the mustard seed and how it related to me. Finally, Jesus orchestrated the whole thing and had me praising God for His kindness the entire drive home.  I was so happy to be going home for a few days off.

Now, it occurs to me that, my complaining to the coworker did not show my trust in God to the outside world. I am called to give face to Jesus. I am called to live above that of complaining and grumbling. I am called to say what I hear the Father say and do what I see the Father doing. It would have been better, instead of grumbling, to ask, “Jesus, what do you think about this?” and to seek an attitude of gratefulness from the beginning. The bible tells us to give thanks in all things. I am truly glad that I was taught this lesson. I don’t feel guilty for complaining and God does not hold it against me. Instead, I really understand now that when He wants me to rest it is for my own good.

Hello world!

Hello there! My name is Shelly Baxter. I have started this blog because I am a writer and as such, writers write and this is as good a place as any to start putting my “stuff” out there. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and am often prompted by the Holy Spirit to write. My hope is to eventually quit my day job and become a full time writer. I know the path I am supposed to be on and now is the time to do it.

May God Bless you and keep you.  I hope you will return often to view and comment on these writings. Please remember all feed back is welcome and helpful criticism is also welcome.