Strong Women, Soft Hearts

I recently began reading a book, which is very unusual for me.  It’s title is Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart.  The Bloom Book Club is going through it right now.  They are going through it pretty quickly…now on chapter 3, but I’m taking my time, especially since the first chapter was so thought provoking and soul searching.  Angie Smith and Jessica Turner have a video that goes with each chapter, discussing their insights.  I’ve always loved the “realness” of Angie’s blog, Bring the Rain, and get so much from her writings.

Anyway, chapter one required that I take a look back at my life, sifting through the rubble to uncover what my dreams were when I was younger.  I discovered that I was not much of a dreamer at all, except for wanting to be married to a godly man and being a godly wife and mother one day.  The year I met Kenny and the following year were probably the happiest times in my life.

But I discovered something else…I don’t wear rose colored glasses.  I see my past through a very negative lens.  It was quite discouraging to see, and to admit.   I’ve been a believer since I was 10 years old, but I have failed to cultivate that deep, intimate relationship with God that He so wants to have with ME.  I have always known He was there for me, that He is sovereign in all things, He would never leave me, and He loved me enough to allow His Son to die for me.     But I haven’t done enough to cultivate the relationship on MY end.  I picture like this…I’m in a room and He is right there with me, watching me, available for me.  He has been the ONLY reason that I have survived the trials and tribulations of this world.  But I know now that survival is not the goal.  I think that is where my negative view comes into the picture.  I have always tried to be thankful for everything He has done for me.  But….THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!!

He LOVES me…He doesn’t just want to be my savior.  He wants to be my confidant, my friend, my stronghold, my shield…He wants to be EVERYTHING to me.  And here I am, letting Him sit on the sidelines because I have not pushed myself to be INTIMATE with Him.  I have missed out on so much.

I was discussing this with a dear friend, who has gone through SO much in her life.   She doesn’t look back with negativity.  She “lives out loud” and praises God with all she has.  She often says, “I had such a WONDERFUL time with the Lord this morning!”  I admit to being jealous.  I asked her about her outlook on her past and she recalled the years she struggled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  She said she KNEW that God was trying to teach her something through this and she wanted to come through it triumphantly.  Even now, as I struggle with my own health, that has not been my goal.  MY goal was to survive the experience with God’s help.  What low expectations I have had, when *I* am a child of the most high God!!!

Now I do want to add here that I learned a LOT about myself and the Lord through my difficulties.  I couldn’t have gotten through them without Him.  But NOW, I desire MORE!  To come through these issues triumphantly….how cool is that!?

Isn’t it awesome that God never stops working on our hearts!?  I see where my negative outlook has affected my sons, so I’ve been very vocal about this with them lately.  I hope they can break the cycle that has been perpetuated through me.

All this was from Chapter 1!  Looking forward to Chapter 2 and sharing my thoughts with you!

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