Monday, May 18, 2009

Honor Them

Thank you for visiting the blog today. We are in the middle of a series on relationships. Today we are looking at our relationships with our parents.

My heart is telling me to share with you all that this has been very much prayed over. I know this is a topic for many that is very difficult to talk about, deal with and live in.

We spent some time in the past few weeks stressing the importance of a personal relationship with God. This relationship is not a suggestion to having a ‘good life’ it rather is a necessity to living in freedom. The freedom you receive in grace from your Heavenly Father is what is needed for you to live in freedom in all your earthly relationships.

**Are you living in freedom?

My hope is that you are living in this freedom. Living in relationship with Jesus. In this relationship He will lead you to honor Him in all you do. An honor that only He can teach you and fill you to live out. An honor that He will lead you to extend to your parents.

**What does it mean to honor?

My relationship with my parents has weathered quite a few storms. And it doesn’t matter from which direction the wind blew, for the storms were significant enough for only the grace and love of God to calm them down.

I remember growing up as a little girl desiring to have a ‘different’ relationship with my parents. One that I had created in my heart. One that made all my little girl fantasies come true. I desired for my parents to say certain things, be certain places, and make me the center of their world. It always seemed so backwards to me that I would know Jesus and they wouldn’t. How could that be God’s will? I prayed for my parents many years that they would come into relationship with Jesus. I hoped God would make them into the parents I wanted them to be. The parents I had created in my mind that I needed them to be.

I spent my minutes, hours, days, months and even years questioning God, why did I have the parents I did?

Then one day I humbled my heart to hear His answer:

Because I wanted you to need Me and rely on Me
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

For me to truly live in the freedom He had for me, I had to be willing to obey Him and follow His commandment to honor the parents I had. The ones He wanted me to have.

During my introduction into parenthood I also started the journey to forgiving my parents and learning how to apply grace to my relationship with them. I didn’t have perfect parents. It took me some growing up and maturing to understand that they are never going to be perfect because they are human. And for me to expect them to be perfect is unrealistic. I spent quite a few days, months, and years wallowing in the fact that my parents were not perfect, they made mistakes when I was a kid and they were not doing everything I needed them to do as an adult. As I started to think through this I realized I was not giving them grace. They didn’t know how to be parents any more than I know how. I had and was having way too high of expectations. It was then that I started to give them grace, which allowed for a freedom in our relationship. I forgave them for the past, and started loving them and showing compassion to them in the present. I also lowered my expectations for the future. Living in God’s grace helped me to give my parents grace. It helped me to love them for who they are and not what I want them to be.

It was God’s plan all along for me to do it this way! We must be able to forgive our parents, ourselves and move out of the past and live in the present.

We have to allow God to fill us to overflowing with His love, so that it can spill over onto the relationships we have with our parents.

God is asking us to honor our parents. God is asking us to trust Him. He is asking us to obey Him.
I want to honor my parents. God has asked me to, and because I have been given the freedom of a grace and love from my Heavenly Father to see them through His eyes. As two human people who are just in as much of a Savior as I am.

The key to today’s post is to point out what we can choose to do.

We can choose to:

Accept Gods plan and our placement here on earth

Honor Him in the way we live our lives

Accept the fact that we can’t change anyone…including ourselves that’s His job!

Love others like we want to be loved

Allow Him to create the relationship with our parents that He has designed it to be.

As I write this post today, I am able to write in freedom and sense of His love for me.

I remember going one Sunday night to my spiritual mentor and seeking her wisdom and asking "what in the world am I doing?" I was just a few days away from sharing with a local MOPs group and felt very convicted that all my relationships were not perfect. I didn’t want to stand up before everyone and be a hypocrite. She said some of the most wisdom filled words that night to my heart. Words that God had filled her heart to share with me. She started with a question "Nichole do you believe in the message you are sharing?" I answered ‘of course I do very passionately’. "Nichole you will only be a hypocrite if you get up there and ask them to do something that you are not willing to live out in your own life" Right there those words…they were a peace and calmness…a love and grace that washed over my heart. Friends I am oh so willing to live out the word of God.

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

Living out the word of God is not about us getting it perfect or arriving at a certain point! It’s about an active on going relationship with our Creator who will lead and guide us each step of the way. It is remembering He is the creator of all relationships. Allowing Him to create it!

**Are you willing to allow God to create the relationship?

**Are you willing to live out the word of God?

May we honor Him today!


Anonymous said...

Hi - It's anonymous again - been away awhile - feeling quite low - thought I'd write a prayer today.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for Nichole and these women who pour their hearts and prayers into this and other blogs. For their love and compassion toward others and even the unknown.
I pray that you bless them and especially Nichole as she is faithfully speaking truth about relationships.
My heart is absolutely broken today because of loss. Loss of friendships due to unforseen and hurtful events. I feel so terrible alone.
My life has taken on twists and turns that have battered this soul. I am desperately seeking to find someone who will just listen and hold me while I let out the years of pain but in this world there are few people who know how to listen.
I am not seeking for anyone to fix my problems, just to listen, understand and hold me. I'm desperate for someone to nurture me.
But then there is the fear Lord of being vulnuerable, of letting someone in too close, of being hurt again. Oh, Lord to be hurt again, I just am still not really recovered from the last time.
Lord, I know you and I know you love me. I know you are with me, I know you have my heart in your hands, I know you care about the things that I face and how difficult my life is just now, but Lord, I need someone with skin on to just listen and hold me.
Is there a place where I can just let all the pain out? A place where I can be me? A place where my heart won't be ripped to shreds again? Is there a place of peace and understanding and comfort? If there is, I certainly haven't found it.
I have been there for numerous people, nurturing, holding, caring, crying with them, listening, praying, ministering, loving, but in my time of great need, I find nobody to hold me.
Lord, I don't know how much longer I can hold on. Some days I'd just rather be with you. In fact most moments I'd just rather be with you. Lord, hear my prayer. I'm hanging on by the thinnest of threads and nobody in my life, or reading my blog has any idea!!
Lord, today I ask you to bless Nichole and her love for you.

Sassymama said...

Well written Nichole.

Anonymous said...

Nichole, This was a great post!! I just 'found' your blog and it ROCKS!! I will surely add it to my daily blog roll. Keep up the good work girl!! It was great to run into you this weekend. See you soon. Cortney

Warren Baldwin said...

Hi, I linked over from SanDe's blog. This is a great article, very deep! I took a quick look at a couple of the others, too, and want to come back to read more. You write of some very important issues.

Have you been to Tamarshope? I think that is a site you would like as it deals with similar issues of forgiveness, honoring parents, etc. In fact, they have a discussion going on over there about that now.

Their link is on my blogroll on my profile page.

Good job here. WB

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

**Are you willing to allow God to create the relationship?Yes. It's ongoing. I struggle at times to pay attention to Him though.

**Are you willing to live out the word of God?Yes! Yes Jesus, Yes! Take me as I am Father.


Runner Mom said...

This is great! So many times we expect too much from our parents--again forgetting that they are only human. Our heavenly Father is the only one who can fulfill us in the way He desires. I loved the question that you posed--Are we willing to live out the word of God? I truly hope so!I try--but it's not always pretty!!

Love you!

Cindy said...

Oh this is a great post Nichole!

I was a child of abuse by the hands of my earthly father. I damaged my life and my ability to receive love from God for many years.

God took me through a season when He taught me true forgiveness. I finally understood the depth of His love for me and the forgiveness He extended.

I can happily state that I was able to rebuild a relationship with my earthly father and was holding his hand when he took his last breath 10 years ago on May 22.

God is the faithful one. I also tell women to trust and forgive. I have no regrets only because God helped me to honor my father. What freedom and what sweet peace God gave.

I continue to have a super relationship with my mom but it took awhile because I also had to forgive her for not protecting me. She is awesome and I am thankful that I still have her.

This post, though difficult, is timely and important.

Blessings to you,

Leslie said...

This is very timely as I'll be visiting my parents this weekend. My dad never says much, and my mom can go on and on about things, some of which are kind of gossipy or just silly. So I have trouble talking to both of them! They don't know God either, and it's hard for me to discuss Him with them.

To Anonymous up above, I'm praying for you! If you have no one to turn to, please keep letting it out here online!

Thank you Nichole for this terrific series!

From the Heart said...

Nichole, a great post.
As I wrote on the previous post, the relationship between my parents and I was not what I wanted. A very Godly Counselor helped me to understand that we often follow our role models. It helped me to understand why my mother clung to me and smothered me in ways that caused resentment, but when I realized what the counselor said I was able to better understand both my parents. My mother's father never wanted his girls to leave home. My mother and a couple of her sisters eloped when they married. She was only following what she had been taught. There was never any love that came from my father's parents so how could he know how to love me. I was able to forgive them, not verbably, my mother would never have understood. But I always honored them and as I stated before I have no regrets and know that when I get to Heaven, What a Glad Reunion Day that will be.

To Anonymous I would like to encourage you to put the problems you are carrying in the hands of Jesus. He said He would bear all our burdens and He will bear yours. Let Him love you, talk with Him like He is your friend and rest in His arms. For several years I did not have a close friend that I could talk to but when I turned my entire life over to God I stated looking at things differently. It was a few years before my prayers were answered but He sent me one of the best friends I could ever have, one of my cousins. Don't give up God's not through with any of us yet. I went through a lot of health problems that taught me that my only true friend was Jesus. He will never let you down.
You will be in my prayers.
From my heart to yours, Nicole and Anonymous,

Lori said...

Loved your post today, dear Nichole!

God selected our parents just for us and doing so, we would need to lean on Him, to be able to love them like we want to be loved. Each day I feel closer to Him as I seek Him in everything. I realized lately that my grandma says things that "bug my mom." My boy's tell me at times that certain things I'll say can be "embarrassing," and then, I realize now that my mom will say things that "bug me." It's not for us to judge. Thank goodness. Oh, to live in harmony, to seek God, everyday for this. To be filled with His Spirit, so that He can come out in us! Seeking His approval and not people on earth.

I accept the fact that God has a plan for me. He's the only one that knows my future. He knows what is best for me. I'm seeking Him and desiring to know Him more and more as each passing day occurs.

Lots to ponder over today!
Lori - AZ

Begin praying everyday to your Father, that he would bring a Godly Christian girlfriend to your doorstep! Someone that you can trust and pray with. God cares about you. Pray to Him, just like you would talk to a girlfriend. He listens better than any earthly person anyway and He is the only one that truly knows your desires. Cling to Him. Read his scriptures, and He will come through. He loves you like no one ever will. You are in His hands, tucked under the shadow of His wings. Feel His warmth and comfort surrounding You. He is always there for you.

Lori - AZ

Anonymous said...

Very Very Good post, makes me think back to the expectations I had for my parents, and I also was way off in left field, I have my ways and the Lord has his, and he always wins Amen !!!!
David said the same thing in one sentence in the very middle of the Bible; Psalm 118:8. But I like the way you put on paper better, gave me more to read and with better understanding.
I Love You Ninnie !!!

Chatty Kelly said...

Well, this is a tough post for me. The thing I can do most to honor my mom is stay away from her, because to be with her I cannot honor her. She is a caustic, alcoholic and emotionally damaging to me.

Free will plays into all of this as well. God may have had other plans for my mom, but she chose to live a different life, with her children reaping the suffering. I don't know why God allowed this, but I love him all the same.

Lori said...

Dear Anonymous,
As I was reading my daily devotion, God brought you to my attention. I'm going to copy what I read. I loved it!
Read Proverbs 18 (18:10)
At times, we just need a place to hide. Life's circumstances begin to overwhelm us, problems mount, situations are out of our control. We know we have to deal with these things, but we just can't do it right now. Instead, we just want to get away and regroup.

God knows that life is like this. He knows that sometimes we feel like we can't handle anything more. So he provides himself as a fortress, a place of safety, a place to hide. With high walls, battlements, and soldiers on the lookout, our fortress is a place for us to run to and find safety. The gate swings open for us and locks securely behind us. There in the fortress we can talk to God, get his guidance, and receive his strength. We will indeed have to go and and face whatever is before us, but not before God has prepared us behind the walls of his fortress.

Escape to God.

Lord, please calm anonymous's heart, giver her rest, and then prepare her for what is ahead. Be her strong fortress today. Amen.

Lori - AZ

ShowSomeLovin said...

Yes, I am guilty of setting high expectations and expecting people in my relationships to say exactly what I need to hear and do the perfect thing that I need too - very unrealistic. Grace is great concept for me to pray for and actively work towards with our Lord. Thank you!

Runner Mom said...

Me again!! We read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers--based on the book of Hosea! Powerful story of love and obedience and forgiveness! Wow! YOu'll have to check it out from the library if you haven't read it!

Have a great day!!
Love ya,

Lori said...

"Redeeming Love," is one of my all-time favorite books! You can't put it down!
Lori - AZ

Things Above said...

Thanks for the note of encouragement you left on my blog. I truly appreciate it.

I also appreciated and could relate to this post. It took many years of being resentful that my parents were not who I wanted them to be before the LORD showed me that although they are not perfect (no one is) He chose them as the perfect parents for me.

I always love stopping by your blog, especially because each time I do, your contageous smile brings me joy!

Have a blessed day!

Kimberly said...

Nichole!!! This past week has been crammed full...and I am trying to catch my home up today. I am so looking forward to when I have a slower moment and I can catch up on your blog. Know that I have been praying for you even though it looks like I have dropped off the face of the earth!!!

Be back later! Love you!

Kimberly said...

Okay...I am back. And this is such a great post. God has had to do some serious work on my heart concerning my attitude towards my mom. I have walked in SUCH judgement of her. And I have been and am presently in the process of being humbled. Which is a good thing. Just as you said, I need to love her as I want to be loved. And I DO love her. I'm just learning how to love her better and show her more grace. This momma stuff is way tougher than I realized it would be!

Thanks for the encouragement!