By Joy A. Kennelly
Seeing as the people I want to hear this will read this blog more likely than my other one where I would rather write it, here I am again in the spirit of love and truth. Read on if you dare. LOL!
I'll share the message I heard this morning that really pierced my heart and caused me to cry in church. Not for reasons you would assume since I didn't have a valentine to share with and the message's title is "What We All Really Wanted for Valentine's Day."
However, perhaps a little. Sometimes it's hard to figure out where emotion is coming from and it's just there all of a sudden.
I've been asking numerous Christian friends to pray for me as I take a stand for balance in my community. As a result, I feel protected, supported and loved by them. However, when you ask God to use you and make you more loving, you need to be prepared for the consequences of that request.
When I went to Hungary to live and volunteer with orphan children my desire through that experience was that God would humble me and help me to have His heart for people. Living in substandard conditions, being deprived of any type of sugar and having to eat deep-fried bread as the main daily staple was a huge learning experience.
However, what really touched my life was the love and good cheer of these children who had absolutely nothing and were generally despised in their country because so many of them were gypsies. For some reason I really related to their feeling of abandonment even though I grew up in a two-parent family that was, and is, intact.
I still don't know what part of me was moved to relate so closely to their life experience, but it humbled and broke my heart changing me forever. As I've told you before, for four years after that experience I collected toys for these orphan children and shipped them over during Christmas.
But that's not what I really wanted to write about today. When you ask God to use you and you ask that you have love in your heart for the people you're speaking to, that's when you experience growth. At least I have.
I know people in the community read my blog and also my comments on This is Hermosa, our community forum where people can voice their opinion on what has happened, and will happen, with our Downtown nightlife scene.
I've not cared what people thought that much and just spouted off my opinion, oftentimes angrily, oftentimes loudly because I've felt this issue is so important and it's time for change at any cost. Also, that anger was the only way to get my point across and be heard. As a result, despite my best intentions and sincerest intent, the message has sometimes been lost in the emotion.
What has also happened, is that things that weren't meant to be read a certain way, have been read completely different than my intent much to my chagrin, embarrassment, or sadness. However, I've set up certain people to expect certain things from me and as a result they expect them even when it's not true. (I know this is obtuse, but bear with me, I'm getting to my point.)
In any case, I've been challenged privately by family members and friends to consider how I'm saying what I'm saying and to share God's love, rather than just judgment. As a result, for the most part, I believe I've really tried to do that.
However, this weekend it became very evident that I hadn't accomplished my goal very well when an email I sent out to a group of concerned citizens I've been working with privately was completely misinterpreted and read as an attack by one man.
As a result, this person decided to viciously attack me back in front of everyone. I've been waiting for something like that to happen all along on the forum and have accepted it there often, but never expected anything like that to come from someone I like and respect and have supported. I was completely blind-sided.
Apparently he felt disrespected and doesn't like me, so my fault for thinking otherwise. I feel terrible he felt that publicly attacking me was the only way to express himself and that he took what I wrote so wrong. I also felt sick to my stomach that he felt so disrespected when that wasn't my intent at all. I've apologized and hope he accepts it. I've done my part. Now the ball's in his court.
What was more devastating was the lack of support I felt I received from people I've been working with for the past couple of months and considered friends. The attack was what it was. There were elements of truth to it which is why it stung so deeply and hurt more than it might of if it wasn't accurate, but that I can handle.
I welcome criticism (when constructive and when it reveals my blind spots because then I can work on these areas to change), but what I don't like is people acting one way with me in private, and then another way with others in public because they want to be liked by everyone, or are ashamed of me and my actions or opinions.
That rips me to shreds every time. Be my friend, or hate me, just be honest. I'm honest. Be honest back. That's why I'll never be a politician. I'm too honest and blunt - not good at kissing butt and playing games, but I'm learning. It also helps to take a step back and let people do what they're going to do.
If they don't want to be deep friends, you can't force someone to do so. You can be hi and bye friends and then allow both of you to be happier because there are less expectations. Or as they say in Al-Anon - Detach with love. Still working on the love part, but again, I'm learning.
What I love about my Al-Anon group is that when I go there I can feel safe and just be me and share. Everyone may not agree, but they love me nonetheless because we're all works in progress. Plus, we've all been there in some way, shape or form.
We've either hurt someone by what we've said, or been hurt by what someone else has said, but we're learning. I love learning. What's cool to is that I've finally found a sponsor to help me work the steps again. I need that desperately.
I've worked the first five twice, but have always moved which has prevented me from continuing the remaining seven. This time I hope to stay put to learn what it is I need to. The 6th step reads, "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of
I am so ready, it's not even funny. When you keep getting pounded on the head with all your defects of character over and over and over and over again in different ways that keep getting more and more difficult to take, it's only a matter of time before you throw your hands up in the air and cry out, Ok God! I give up! Help me! Change me! I can't take it any longer! I don't want to be this person any more!
That's where I'm at. I don't want to be the person I am any more. I want change in my life. I want my life to reflect God's love in such a way that it's undeniable that He is the reason I am a different person because the change is so miraculous.
Not to say I think I'm so awful that I need a major personality overhaul, but there are definitely character defects that have been affecting all areas of my life and need to be eliminated once and for all. I feel only God can do it because I've tried so hard on my own and it's not working.
So, with that as the preface, here's the message notes from today.
I was a little worried that the guest speaker who was replacing Jim wasn't going to be as good, but I was pleasantly surprised. Greg Johnson is Jim's Brother-in-law and just as funny, (maybe more!) and quite insightful a teacher.
There were times when he was sharing you could have heard a pin drop. Since Jim was gone, of course his wife Sandy was gone too which meant we had a guest worship leader. David did a great job because he just has such an easy way about him and has fun leading us which is what music is all about anyway. Enjoyment and worshiping God.
I loved the electric guitar solo Steve, I think that's his name, did as our opening too. Gotta say, a man playing electric guitar is so sexy! Love it, especially in church. Stay away impure thoughts! It is church after all. But ladies, if you come, you'll see what I mean.
We have a very attractive music team I must say. And the talent there is really amazing. Monica Bruno sang a solo today and everyone burst into spontaneous applause afterwards. Really great singer. Plus, the drama was very funny and insightful too. Just love the creativity at this church. You must come visit some day.
So, without further ado, here's the message notes from today:
What We All Really Wanted for Valentine's Day
Everyone wants love... and a little something!
21Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
The pastor broke this down even more to describe the meanings of two words, Courteously: "Other centered; regard with respect and tinged with awe" and Reverent: "to act in a manner that provides dignity to someone else."
Whoa, this one really spoke to me. I haven't been doing
that because I've been so angry at what's been going on in the Downtown
area I haven't really cared. But God knew that it's easy to not be courteously reverent which is why it's included in the Bible as something to be. Okay, I'm listening God. I want that more in my life. I want to give it too.
1. Wives Want to Know They are Loved and Treasured.
A. A wife desires unconditional love from their husbands.
25 -28Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.
Greg clarified this by saying, not unobserved love that doesn't have boundaries though. God is gentle, but direct. Learn to say the right things in the right way is what Greg suggested. Ok, I will.
B. Every man knows how to treasure what he truly loves.
33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself...
Song of Solomon 8:7:
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it [a] would be utterly scorned.
C. Harshness shuts down a woman's ability to feel safe.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Greg explained that gentleness allows women to open up and feel emotionally safe and secure. It's hard to do which is why it's been put in the Bible. That is why I don't feel safe around that other man who attacked me. He was SOOO harsh it was a little overboard, but I have to realize that God must have felt I wasn't hearing the previous messages that had been said in nicer ways.
I like to think that things happen in our lives for a reason. Everything has a plan and purpose to it. This was just a life lesson I needed to learn obviously. I intend to grow from it no matter how painful it's been.
D. A treasured wife overflows with confidence and passion.
Greg has counseled a lot of couples during his time of being a pastor which gives him a depth and breadth of experience upon which to share with us. He said the greatest gift a husband can give a wife is to allow her to feel treasured because then she pursues her passions with confidence.
I've seen this in the couples I've worked with too. If the wife wants to be an artist and the husband wants other things for her and doesn't support and encourage her, she is not as confident in her life or artistic endeavors.
Those that are loved, supported and encouraged in their passions have such a different glow about them. They move forward in confidence and assurance that their husband is their greatest supporter and friend.
That's what I want in my life partner. That's why I admire certain marriages around me so much and why I want to spend more time with them. There's a common respect and love that just naturally flows between these couples which is really beautiful to see.
My friends Shana and Rick have that type relationship. I think that's why I like to be around them so much. They are true partners and supporters of each other, something I didn't really see exhibited growing up.
My family relationships have changed a lot now, but your parent's relationship definitely molds your view of marriage. Maybe that's why I'm still single? Probably one of the reasons... It's also the reason this past weekend was so painful. If you don't have a friend getting your back when you're being attacked when you're single, who do you have?
In any case, back to the message.
2. Husbands Want to Know They Are Loved and Respected.
A. A Husband desires unconditional respect from his wife.
33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
This explanation I found very interesting: "women exert control by withholding respect which came as a result of the fall." I've not been very respectful of certain city council members or tavern owners which has affected my community relationships as a result.
I always forget how important respect is to men. I need to learn that better. I'm sorry to those I've offended unintentionally AND intentionally. Hopefully we can start over. Or not. Whatever you decide.
B. A wife must learn how to be a companion to her husband.
18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
Greg shared how lately his wife, Sandy's sister, has taken to just coming and sitting with him while he watches a couple quarters of a game and how much that has meant to him. My ex-boyfriend always wanted me to just be with him even when washing the car. I couldn't understand why he needed me there when he could do it by himself.
However, it wasn't because he needed help. He just wanted my company. Now I understand. I want a companion in my life too. It's hard to be single and a business owner. What's nice though is I'm developing relationships with people to do business together which is new, but very welcome. I'm tired of doing everything alone. At least this part of my life is coming together. Now to work on the personal side.
C. Joining him in chosen activities inspires his life.
No Bible verse here, but Greg explained the motivation to share your husband's activities is to know this inspires him. Very interesting.
Now I know where I blew it in certain male friendships/relationships because I didn't understand why a guy needed me somewhere when he was surrounded by people and didn't seem like he needed me when he really did.
Sorry CT, JP and WS. Truly I am.
D. Admiration from a wife costs so little and does so much.
1 Peter 3:1-2:
in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them
do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the
behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
This one really spoke to me too. A friend of mine is in a relationship I don't necessarily approve of or see going anywhere (which is none of my business which is why we've agreed to disagree and not discuss it any more out of respect for our friendship.)
When I heard this verse I was struck that she is living her life in such a way as to win this man over by virtue of her life. However, I wonder if it really applies since they're not married? I don't know, but love both of them so whatever God has in store... None of my business.
3. Kids want to know they are secure and safe.
A. Closely watching a good marriage gives kids hope.
6 Train [a] a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Greg explained that the way was similar to a rut in the road, or a bend in the bow. Hard to not see.
4. Everybody Wants to Know They are Loved and Forgiven.
1 John 4:10:
God Is Love
This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the
world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are
talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved
us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the
damage they've done to our relationship with God.
This is the verse that really made me cry. That God would love me just as I am - judgmental, critical, angry, impossible, bossy and whatever else you want to call me, just as I am. As the old Christian cliche says, I'm not perfect, just forgiven.
My desire is to share God's love and to do that I have to feel God's love. You can't share what you don't experience. So, my goal is to receive the love that people have given me and express myself in love too. I may not always succeed. In fact, probably will often fail.
However, just know that this is something I'm working on. It's my deepest desire that you experience the love of God and if I'm hindering your ability to see God, then that's what needs to be changed. I'm sorry and ask your forgiveness. Probably won't be the first time I ask it, nor the last, but just know I'm saying this sincerely.
Okay, that's all. Gotta run. Have an awesome Sunday.