Serenity Through Acceptance

Serenity Prayer

It never ceases to amaze me what circumstances God can–and does–use to speak to His children.  For instance, He spoke to me the other morning through my impatience with another’s lack of willingness to try to understand and accept yet another.  Confused?  Allow me to explain…

A dear friend has an ongoing internal struggle with what he feels is the absence of his parents’ acceptance.  It doesn’t matter what he does or what his children accomplish, he feels as though he’s always living in the shadow of his brother and his brother’s family.  Try as he may, and he tries desperately, he cannot get what he’s needing from them.  In fact, more than needing, but rather craving.

It wasn’t long ago that I felt like the black sheep of my family as well, and in fact, had for most of my life.  It wasn’t until I learned serenity and peace come through acceptance, that I was able to let go and see my role in the play.  In fact, it was the lead role.   While I spent endless years feeling sorry for myself because I was “misunderstood,” and “not accepted for who I was,” all it did was make the chip on my shoulder–and in my attitude– that much heavier, driving those who loved me further away while I acted unlovable.

God let me know that I wasn’t trying to understand and accept them as they were, either.  I was expecting from others what I wasn’t willing to give.  He taught me that I cannot change anyone else, but only accept and love them.  I can, however, change my attitude and perspective.  And He gave me the wisdom to know the difference.

When God gave me the wisdom and the strength to let go of that burden and give it to Him, I felt a freedom I had never known.

So I thought I had figured it out and I was good to go.  But God wasn’t done teaching me the full lesson yet.  Either that or I’m a slow learner. ūüôā

The other morning, when I found myself frustrated yet again with my friend who continues to struggle for something he may likely never receive, God showed me I still wasn’t practicing acceptance.  I wanted my friend to feel something other than what he was feeling, and that wasn’t fair.  Who was I to expect him to feel what I thought he should be feeling?

God told me I don’t have a right to expect anyone to be anything other than who they are.

It’s better to lovingly meet people where they are, as they are, and pray for God to bring them peace how He sees fit.  After all, He is our Creator.  He knows what each of us needs better than any of us can begin to understand.

Since my friend’s parents haven’t always been this way, changing as they age, as we all will, I pray he can meet them where they are, as they are, realizing they aren’t the parents of his youth, and likely won’t ever be again.  I pray he can stop expecting what they cannot give, and appreciate what they can–and have given.

Serenity prayer?

I’ve learned that when I spend time with my heavenly Father, truly listening to Him rather than speaking at Him, is when I learn the greatest lessons.  I pray my friend can learn why he’s needing the acceptance and validation from outside, when he has everything he needs from the Father of all.

I’ve learned to try enjoy another in peace rather than struggle to change them, for it isn’t my place to change another or expect anything from another, but only to love. I pray he finds that same peace.

I wish I could say I’m successful all of the time, but that would be far from the truth.  But since God has shown me what is best for me to do, it’s my job to work at it.  As I once heard, God will move mountains, but he expects us to bring a shovel.

I pray God continues to use every opportunity to teach me lessons that lead me closer to Him.

We are all a gift and blessing to one another.  I pray we not be dissatisfied with the gifts He gives, but appreciate them.

All is Grace.

Let Go and Let God

When my boys were babies, then toddlers, it never occurred to me that they would ever be anywhere else but home with me.  Home where they were safe.  No matter what could, or did, happen anywhere else in the universe, at least we were together. photo (1)

As they found their way into, and through, adolescence, moments of fear began to take its grip,  choking my ability to be fully present and enjoy our time together.  Rather than trust God to in order to completely enjoy them, I feared that God would take them from me.  That fear took me from them.

Having been that fiercely protective mom–okay, I’ll admit some may have called me that “helicopter mom” since¬†I had a tendency to hover–I tried with all my might to protect and buffer¬†them¬†from painful lessons that had¬†I stepped aside, would have¬†had great potential to help them grow into God-fearing, God-dependant young men.

Sometimes it felt like our lives¬†became a yo-yo. Give them to God, take them back, give, take, give…you get the picture. ¬†I’m forever grateful He gave.

Despite the sometimes paralyzing fear of losing them, and the raw ache at the thought of having an empty nest, God has used my weakness to grow stronger in Him, teaching me how to not only let go so they could grow, but to learn the power¬† of the simple phrase “Let go and let God.”

He’s teaching me to:

Let go of trying to control every outcome and let God guide the journey (8)

Let go of protecting my family with suffocating persistence and let God protect them by giving Him–and them–the space they need.

Let go of trying to change what is not within my power to change,  and let God give me the strength to change what I can. And to know the difference between the two.  (The Serenity Prayer)

Let go of trying to force them to understand me and let God work in me to understand them.  To truly love them with a love that can only come from Him. Exactly as they are.  Exactly where they are.

Let go of the need to orchestrate and plan every moment of my day, and let God lead our day.

Let go of the tendency to regret yesterday or fear tomorrow, and let God help me live fully today.  In this exact moment.

Let go of the need for organized perfection, and  let God help me find the beauty in the messiness of life.

The messiness that can create a masterpiece.  A unique, one-of-a-kind, work of art by the master artist Himself.

Grace to You.