Enduring Discipline as a Christian // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

Hello, sweet folk and welcome to another Friday coffee meeting between your hearts and mine.

Hebrews has been my current morning Bible read; the 12th chapter of this great book has specifically been calling my attention.

Coffee Minute with You

For too many years Hebrews 12:1-13 brought me grief and anguish. Why? Because I misunderstood the word endure. I had this idea that to endure meant I had to literally hang on to my faith while God inflicted every sort of punishment He could imagine.

And, I mean, who could withstand that?

I’ve lived years believing that my survival depended on my being able to wait out God’s mighty hand of discipline … and that led to years of fretful discouragement and fear.

But I was wrong. So incredibly wrong.

God has already dealt the final punishment for sin on His Son, Jesus Christ. The discipline I deserve was placed onto the perfect Lamb of God.

This is good news!!

I was right … if the final punishment for sin were to be on my shoulders I could not endure. Praise God, though, Jesus took my place!

When I finally understood this vital information my heart leapt! To endure discipline doesn’t mean I have to work to keep my salvation and God’s approval. It simply means that I will experience discipline, and because God is a good Father, I will experience His discipline throughout my life when I choose sin.

But His discipline isn’t something that will crush or destroy me.

It’s just enough that, when it is finished, will yield holiness and the peaceable fruit of righteousness! Isn’t that just beautiful, sweet people?

Ah … you cannot imagine the joy and freedom this gift of understanding has been to me. Thank You, Father, for showing me your love and goodness and setting me free from this bondage of fear! You are so good!

Sweet friends, how are you doing? Are you going through a time of discipline? Or are you enjoying the benefits the discipline brought? Let’s grow together in grace and community and share our hearts.

With so much love, blessings and (sugar donut flavored!) coffee, 🙂

Frannie

Finding Delight in Being Delightful

Let's be women of delight!

Hello, sweet folk.

It’s been a long, beautiful, lesson-filled week for this woman.

Amid the various tasks, responsibilities and necessities (like laundry, meal planning, wiping toilets and herding energetic 3rd graders …) I discovered a beautiful thing:

There is delight in being delightful.

Marriage isn’t always easy or fun. Just as being a student isn’t always energetic coffee-shop study hours and teaching isn’t always excellent, common core slaying lessons, so marriage isn’t always roses and kisses and lovey-dovey-you-make-my-heart-stop-goosh. (Although there is a fair share of that.) 😉

It’s easy to become the woman you never intended to be. Without trying, I’ve been the nagging wife, a disrespectful shrew (haha, ew), the uncreative cook (can anyone say one-minute rice, please?) and the discouraging friend when my husband really needs a smile.

It’s no surprise that being a wife can become a back-burner role we women are tempted to neglect.

So it’s no surprise that we can lose our ability to delight.

And that’s where I want to inspire you. Dear women, let’s find delight in being delightful. Let’s take joy in being sun beams to our men who so often need a sunrise in to brighten their grey workdays. Let’s take our roles of helpmeet, friend and lover serious enough that we’re willing to go the extra mile and delight the man we vowed to stand by.

Any body can trudge through life … it takes a special person to sprinkle delight and joy.

(And here’s the best part … there’s rewards for being delightful!) It may take time but your husband and family will begin to bless your efforts. Unconsciously, you will begin to find rewards in loving selflessly. The seeds you sow will reap harvest. The more you smile, pursue, serve, encourage and bless the more you will be smiled upon, pursued, served, encouraged and blessed.

It’s a beautiful, life-giving, God-made cycle.

And you get to start it.

Let’s learn to see the delight in being delightful.

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

How I Learned to be Happier in 2015

Coffee With You Series

Speaking words of thankfulness is our most crucial key to living a blessed life.

I didn’t realize words could be so capable of life and death until I met my husband. Growing up, I developed the habit of squeezing complaints into normal conversation. Because I’m a vocal person in tune with my (ever-changing) feelings it seemed natural to vocalize the bad along with the good. Innocently, I spoke words of grumbling and discontent over the smallest things.

“The weather is too warm;” “I hate waking up … just a few more minutes?” “She can be so mean; at least I’ll only be working with here for one season …”

Without realizing I had allowed complaints to become the main catalyst for conversations.

It was a wintry morning when Dalton asked me to stop. I was climbing into our cold truck, bundled up in my pea coat and mittens, preparing to be dropped off for a few hours of babysitting. Without much thought I mumbled words of discontentment, “I hate getting up this early and it’s so cold. Why do I even do this?”

“Why are you complaining?” came the offending question from my husband. “You have a great job, good pay and you only work a few hours a week. You’ve got it good. If you want to quit, quit. Otherwise, be thankful and enjoy it.”

I felt ashamed by his rebuke and defended my words. But deep inside I knew he had a point.

God takes complaining seriously. Throughout the Old and New Testament our Heavenly Father rebukes grumbling, murmuring conversations; the Israelites complained and suffered  serious consequences. Dalton likes to say “when people complain God always replies.” (And gives a good spanking.)

Without knowing it I fell into a sinful way of viewing and talking about life.

How do we fight negative, complaining conversation? How do we root out the desire to vocalize our grumblings and murmurings over life’s irritations?

We give thanks.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” [/pullquote]

Giving thanks, even for the irritating bits, gives life. When we give thanks we’re given the chance to see the irritation from heaven’s perspective. We grow in grace because we’re walking in obedience when we choose to be content despite our circumstances. If our Lord could give Paul the grace to be content in all that he suffered (and enjoyed) then we can confidently rest knowing our Lord is more then willing to help us as well. 🙂

Dalton had a point. I didn’t need to babysit and I could quit anytime I wanted. But in the mean time I needed to give thanks.

As I’ve learned to make thanksgiving the topic of conversation I’ve noticed how much easier the hard things in life become. By noting the beauty of a winter’s day instead of its bitter cold I see more beauty and feel more peace. By taking life’s opportunities to be thankful I became more happy. 2015 was a good year for me and most of it was due to my changing perspective.

Because I came into this world with more then I deserve and because I’ll leave this world with more then I deserve I have the privilege to use my words to give thanks for everything in between. (That’s another of Dalton’s sayings … isn’t he the greatest?) 🙂

How about you? Have you noticed the power of thanksgiving in your life? How have you grown to be more thankful in your conversation? Will 2016 be a year of rejoicing for you? Share your thoughts — I always love hearing from you!

With lots of love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Marriage Beyond the Butterflies and Roses

Loving Beyond Feelings

I recently had a dear friend ask me to write about marriage after the roses and butterflies stage. You know, the days when you’re not in love with love but the quirky personality you call husband?

Honestly, this has been a huge learning experience for me. Over the course of our (almost) two years of marriage I’ve discovered that I am a very selfish person: I love to be loved. And without knowing it, I can allow my love to be based on how well Dalton is loving me and how much I’m enjoying his love.

(Ew, can that really be me? it is these moments when I cry out with Jeremiah, “Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?“)

Thankfully, my Abba Daddy does not let me remain in my selfish, inherent love for love. He knows my deceitful, selfish heart and He loves me through it. He challenges my heart to learn to love people not because of how their love makes me feel but for who they are in themselves.

Loving people past the feelings of satisfaction they give us is something we as Christians must let Christ work in our hearts.

Our homes, marriages, churches and relationships depend on it.

The best way for me to describe loving someone simply for who they are is to tell you a little bit of how my husband loves me.

(Because he loves me with a tremendous, Christ-like love every day and I am honored and changed because of it’s consistent presence.)

  • He loves me for me and not for my physical prowess, beauty, smarts or talents.

I am not always beautiful, genius or elegant. In fact, my personality is the kind which takes more interest in the quirky, dry and unique then in the traditional, stunning ideas of beauty. I have zits, fluff and get tongue-tied far more then I like. 😉

But Dalton loves me anyways. He delights in who I am regardless of the state of my hair or the number the scale shows. He’s one of those people who would love me, care for me and treasure me even if I were burned tremendously and lost my limbs. His love is not shallow.

  • He loves me when I’m sinning

Dalton loves me even during the moments where I am full of sin. I’ve argued, gossiped, complained, belittled, disrespected and dishonored this man. Yet, despite it all, he loves me even while I’m sinning. His love is not conditional.

  • He loves me when I am destructive

There are times when I let my insecurities, anxieties, fears and past experiences make me destructive. Have you ever fallen into a pit of despair resulting in a hatred of everything you are and represent? Me too.

The best thing is when you have a person who sees you in all your misery yet stands by your side. These people remind you of who you are in Christ and what He has accomplished in and through you. Dalton is this person; even when I’m destructive he stands by me loving me. His love is not afraid to stand up to my bullies.

  • He loves me into forgiveness

Because Dalton loves me he loves me into forgiveness. As Dalton’s sister-in-Christ he does not turn a blind eye to my sin but confronts, lovingly, the sin I stumble in. His love is not condemning but life-giving. He points me to my Savior’s promise of forgiveness, sanctification and grace. His love is heaven-minded.

Loving someone past the roses and butterflies stage requires you to face their faults, ugliness, sinful nature and destructiveness and love them in spite of it.

Loving someone means loving them for who they are and not for how they make you feel.

Because if my husband based his love for me on how I made him feel he’d have left a long time ago.

Honestly, this is the kind of love we should exhibit for all our relationships. It can be challenging to love our friends, coworkers, church family for who they are and not for how they make us feel but it is necessary.

Let’s be a people who are known for enlarged hearts and love the person and not love itself.

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

When You’re Faced with Conflict and Hate Being Responsible: Conflict Resolution Memoirs

I hate arguing. It really is the pits. Throughout my timid life I’ve settled most of life’s conflicts by keeping my peace, ducking my head and resolving to get over whatever irked me.

Thankfully, living 24/7 with a loving, albeit stubborn, man requires me to grow-up and mature in the conflict resolution arena.

So, here are my bits of advice for resolving conflict thoroughly and lovingly. Take whatever you can from my meager words; I’m still learning.

  1. Relationships = Opportunity for Bitterness

Knowing that you can become bitter is the first step in choosing not to. No matter the size of the conflict (think “she keeps clanging her spoon in the cereal bowl” small to “we can’t agree on family size” big) there will be opportunities for you as an individual to grow angry, bitter and hurt over the situation. I think acknowledging that we can or will be hurt is a step worth knowing because only then can you move onto step two …

2.  Opportunity for Bitterness = Opportunity for Empathy

When we’re faced with conflict I’ve discovered that a major step toward reconciliation is being empathetic. Empathy, according to the Webster Dictionary, means “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated.”

In other words, to put yourself the other person’s moccasins. In the long-term scheme of things it doesn’t really matter how I feel about so-and-so’s irritating complaint. Instead of belittling their feelings or opinion it is more useful to put myself in their shoes (even if they seem ridiculous). Only when we decide to see their complaint from their eyes will we be ready for step 3.

3. Empathy = Chance for Resolution

Real, life-giving reconciliation involves taking responsibility for our actions and the impact they had (even when we did not intend for the impact to occur). To illustrate I’ll tattle on myself and my struggle with punctuality (it’s a family curse). Let’s say I’ve worked 15 minutes later then planned finishing an awesome library display and, therefore, am 15 minutes late picking up D from his 10 hour shift.

Most likely my Man will be a little irate. From experience the following situations become possible (okay, all of these scenarios have happened).  I could:

A) Offer a myriad of excuses instead of a genuine “I’m sorry for being irresponsible and making you wait for my lack of planning.” Excuses will most likely look like “Well, you’ve been late picking me up before so we’re even …”

B) Become irritated with my Man’s lack of patience and  grow impatient with his irritation. Situations like this most likely end up with a cold, silent ride home. :/

C) Take responsibility for not being punctual but accuse D of also falling short of true patience and understanding.

D) Take responsibility for not being punctual and for causing feelings of frustration in a normally calm, patient man who is simply ready to take his boots off and eat dinner at the agreed upon time.  Putting myself in my Man’s shoes (being empathetic) will allow me to be patient with his impatience and grace-filled with his momentary grumpiness. Instead of a cold ride home there will be open communication and trust will continue to be built between two sinners who need each other more than they know.

4) Resolution = Growing in Individual Maturity and Opportunity for Relationship Growth

When we choose to be empathetic, responsible and grace-filled we choose both individual and relationship growth. We choose opportunities to develop deeper bonds, richer trust and increased wisdom. We love our neighbor as ourselves and honor our relationships.

Because it’s like my mom always said, “You can only be responsible for yourself.”

And that my friend is a beautiful thing.

Are you an avoider, an arguer or an avid resolution maker? How have you discovered to peacefully and fully resolve conflict (both big and small)? Share your ideas with us … I’d love to know!

With lots of love and coffee,

Frannie