I used to work at a hospital here in town known for the excellent heart care they provide. I can't imagine if I was told by a Cardiologist that my heart was bad and I needed surgery that I would only let him work on part of my heart. I can't see any patient telling the surgeon the way he is going to perform the surgery or what part of the heart he can have access to, but yet I do that with God. I try to hold on to stuff from my past, just in case things don't go right in this area I will have this comfort to fall back on. I'm slowly learning that I just need to get up on the operating table and let God do His thing...His way. He needs to have full access to my heart or Lelia Chealey is going to be the same year after year and Lord knows I or He does not want that.
This last year has been one of the most challenging of my life.
When I think that in only a few months my teenage daughter will give birth to her second child, my heart just aches. But then....she announced on Sunday that my friends' church she has attended the last few weeks is "her church". Hallelujah.
Yesterday I had to go pick up my son from the assistant Principal's office. Suspended for the entire week for poor judgement on his part. I sat in the office looking at this kid exploding with potential and found myself in my heart getting angry with the enemy.
Last night God through His tenderness showed me that He has Aaron by the neck with the small things so that he will think when presented with the bigger temptations.
So I praise Him. In the good and in the bad.
And I know that He is watching over my children even when His holy ears are met with my pathetic prayers asking Him to"help them to have a good day". He intercedes in my kids' lives even when this Mom allows her busy schedule to override serious prayer time over what He has entrusted her with.
I share all this with you because like my friend Jill has said before in previous studies...this chapter went right along with my life. Hand in hand. God used Jennifer's writing to teach me.
Okay...let's get started.
CHAPTER 7: Calm Down: I Have Stilled and Quieted My Soul.
Remember, anything in blue is a quote from the book.
Our reactions reveal the temperature inside our thought closet. We can use soul talk to keep the thermostat at a cool and steady temperature. We must learn to still and quiet our souls, to tell our souls to calm down.
I loved the honesty of how Jennifer shared how she kicked a hole in the wall from releasing her anger. I've had a few of those moments in my life and just like Jennifer noted: I didn't feel so good afterward. One thing Aaron was worried about yesterday was his Dad's reaction. I was so proud of Gene because the way he responded to Aaron's news just had to have brought pleasure to the One who sits on the throne. After he told Aaron he loved him he went into our bedroom and just was still before the Lord. He allowed his soul to calm down and he isn't even reading our book! It was good for me to observe as my husband sometimes yells first then calms down later.
I really loved the part of this chapter called Loosen the Grip. Jennifer's admission of being a blind control freak was refreshing especially when she included us in her revelation...Blindness didn't take away my control. It simply exposed that I never had ultimate control in the first place! And, my friend, neither do you.
I suppose this author is right because if I had control of the events in my life...
1.) My husband would be completely healed from his back surgery.
2.) My teen daughter would be a virgin.
3.) My son would be in school this week.
Jennifer did an excellent job of pointing out the few things the Creator has allowed to be in our control:
1.) Our attitudes
2.) Responses to circumstances
3.) Our choice to seek God
4.) Our determination to be still before Him
and my favorite...
5.) Our choice to acknowledge that He is God--and we are not!
There was so much in this chapter that I found myself saying more than once...Oh that's good. I don't want to share everything as I hope other readers will hit the points I don't mention, but we also learned about anger and peace. I felt she saved the best for the last when she taught us about water words and gasoline words.
When your anger rises, what you say to yourself will either calm things down or absolutely ignite them. Those internally spoken words you use at such crucial moments will be like water or like gasoline. Water will quench the flames. Gasoline will turn them into an inferno.
I pray that during the difficult seasons my husband and I will choose to speak water words to our souls. To the world we must look like the most mismatched parenting team, but we know that the paths our children have chosen is somewhat out of our control. So instead of telling ourselves we are horrible parents, we have to fill our soul with water...we have to believe what God says in Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
I must do like Jennifer instructs me to do on page 113: guard the door of your thought closet. You cannot allow words that ignite anger and promote discord in the door. They will make your thought closet dangerously hot.
Years ago Gene held a brief position as a bouncer at a bar. This would be in our pre-comin' back to Jesus days. ~smiles~. His job was to stand at the door and not let the riff-raff in. The ones that didn't belong...under aged nervously holding their fake id's and the already drunk and obnoxious. He stood his ground and didn't let the bad even through the door. Just like Gene did, we have to become the bouncers of the door to our thought closet. We have to stand firm and not allow those words that cause nothing but drama and heartache to even cross the threshold of the entrance to our closet.