Archives for September 2017

Looking at the Heart by Lynn Autry

 

GodLooksAtTheHeart-1

 

Have you been fooled before by someone. Have you expected a person to continue to act in a Christ-like manner just to be disappointed? Wouldn’t you like to see inside of a person at the beginning of a relationship? We have a lesson in the Bible about the heart. “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible,  but the Lord sees the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) God tells us not to be deceived when we look on the outward appearance or actions. He looks at the heart. God sees our emotions. We may can hide hurt or disappointments but God sees what we are truly feeling. Our heart shows our intentions. God sees our issues, all of them. God sees what lies behind our actions. God sees our strong will and desires.
In relationships, it is easy to look at what we can see. If you are like me, you have looked at actions and thought this person will make a great in-law. We have also looked at a person and thought they would be a terrible person to try to have an in-law relationship with. We have been deceived by looking at what we could only see with our eyes. Some of you are like me and you have lived long enough for God to show you how wrong you were. Actions spoke louder than words and proved you and me wrong. The people of Israel thought Saul would make a great King. They were deceived. This strong good looking man did not have a heart to stick with God and obey him. Young David had a heart that would follow God and have a heart after God.
We need to focus on what God sees. God sees the motivation behind the actions. We need God to implant his heart for people in our heart so that we will see the heart behind the actions.
God gave Israel a lesson over and over in this. God also gives us lessons on seeing beyond what we can see with our eyes. Judging comes naturally for us, at least for me. It takes real effort to wait and let God guide us through what we see and what we don’t see.
It takes patience, prayer and self-control. When we pray and stay in tune with God, He can guide us through what we see and don’t see. Patience helps us just to wait and see. Having self-control keeps us from saying and doing  what we may regret later.
When you are picking out potential in-law possibilities, remember the Saul and David story. Saul started out hiding and David started out tackling a giant. God will see what you cannot see. God sees the heart and years down the road for you.  We just see the here and now. God saw the battles David would need to fight. God sees the battles you will be fighting and who you need by your side when the war is waging in your life.
We also need to remember this story with all the people in our life. We have to leave it to God to help us see the motivations behind the actions of people in our family. He sees the heart and our sight is very limited. We can be easily hurt by what we see. Just remember God sees the insides and knows what lies underneath. Remember to pray about all relationships. Remember to have patience with all people. And remember to have that all important self-control. Our all-knowing God is in control when we are struggling with what we cannot see. Don’t be deceived, God sees the heart.

Who’s Your Favorite?

 

IMG_1172

Who’s Your Favorite?

Who’s your favorite? As a parent of five children and grandparent to four children, that is a question I have answered with “they are all my favorites”. I try to not get into picking favorites. I want my children, grandchildren and daughters-in-law to know that I love each of them. We have a story in the Bible about picking favorites. Isaac and Rebecca had favorites. Isaac favored Esau and Rebecca favored Jacob. Each knew whose favorite they were. They knew who would say, “yes”. These parents set the stage for bitterness between their twins by playing favorites. Rivalry ended up not only between Jacob and Esau but also Isaac and Rebekah.

As parents and grandparents, we need to try to keep down favorites. Our grandchildren needed to always feel like we love each of them the same. It is easy to so love the excitement of a new baby that we make the older grandchildren feel like they are not special.  During this time, we may need to show our interest also in the older grandchildren. We can give them special treatment like fixing their favorite food or talking to them about their game. We need to make every effort to show our children that we want to treat each of their children special. At times, we may be confronted with our children or their spouses pushing for their children to be treated as the favorite. This is an issue we may have to talk about to insure the self-esteem of all the grandchildren is maintained. Self-esteem of children is an easy thing to damage and a hard part to repair.

Favoritism is a part of every families life. How we deal with it can be very important. Dr. Ellen Libby says we can deal with favoritism in two ways. One is by fluid favoritism. We may favor a grandchild when they have similar interests as us.  We may have grandchildren that live with us for a time so of course we will be with them more during this time. We can also favor a stage they are in like infant. Another way is by fixed favoritism. Fixed favoritism is when our fluid favoritism is an always. The Grandfather always wants to be around Johnny. The Grandmother always wants to have time and spend money with Susan and not necessarily Jane. A grandparent only buys backpacks and shoes for the start of school for one grandchild when there are others. What may be blind to us can be obvious to others.

The key to favoritism is to be aware of the damage it can cause in a family and guard against it. Ask yourself questions periodically. Do each of my grandchildren know that I love them? Do I do something special for each of them from time to time? Does the money I spend show favoritism? Do my children feel like their children are loved? Am I more critical with some grandchildren than others? Many of the questions as a parent we asked our self to make sure we do not pick favorites apply to our grandchildren.

Favoritism can not only hurt our relationship with grandchildren that we are trying to build but it can hurt our relationship with children and spouses. The relationship between children and their families can become tense and embittered when favoritism is seen. Building relationships within families is a constant struggle. Anything can creep in and cause division. Favoritism can come in when we least expect it. We need to try to be aware of biases we may have. We should try to spread time and money as equal as we can. Let’s just say, being a Mom of five and Grandma to four I have dealt with this one more than once. Even when I try hard to not play favorites, other family members can sense it and call me out on it. Perception is huge in relationships. When people sense favoritism, deal with it and move on. Family members within the family can play favorites so try to communicate that every person in the family is equally important. With successes and failures on favoritism, always, always take this to the Lord in prayer for guidance. We can think we are doing everything right and get blindsided so He is our wisdom over every family issue we have. As we attempt to grow relationships in our families, let’s make every effort to keep favoritism out.

 

IMG_1203 favoritism