Thursday, January 11, 2024



"Father, I pray You would help me to always remember that it was because of Your loving kindness that I am here where I stand today.

May this always be at the forefront of my mind and heart as I go forth in my interactions with others so my words will carry greater weight as Your kindness is produced in me and displayed through me. Amen."

* * * * *

Wednesdays are long days for me.  A full day at my day job and then off to visit my Counselor for our weekly meeting and then off again for my women's Wednesday night Bible Study at church.

By the time I get home, I am tired.  A quick change into warm, cozy pajamas and then into bed.  Usually, no TV.  Just a quick glance of phone notifications before turning off the lights and snuggling up with my furry family members to sleep.

Over the last few weeks, I have been learning about the fifth Fruit of the Spirit - kindness.  It is one I have tried to dig deep into.

We often think of ourselves as kind and view ourselves through that qualifying magnifying glass.  But it is how others view us that we must really keep at the forefront of our thinking.  If others we cross paths with do not view us as kind, are we really being kind and producing this Fruit of the Spirit in our lives?

Last night, I had one of the most impactful dreams I have ever had.  I feel sure it was God's Holy Spirit impressing upon me the importance of this fifth Fruit of the Spirit - kindness.

The Old Testament is ripe with stories of God speaking to His people through dreams.  At the beginning of mankind, there were no writings or Scripture for people to read, study, or for God to speak to His people through.  Later on, even when the Scriptures were available, they were normally only read in the Temple; people did not own a personal copy as we do today.  Because of this, God would often speak to His people through dreams.

We don't hear of God speaking to His people through dreams much anymore, but our God is still the same God today as he was in Genesis and Exodus.  He is still abundantly able to use our dreams to communicate with us.

All through last night, for a solid and straight six hours, God took me on a journey over the last 11 years.  Showing me each relationship I have been in during those years (albeit and thankfully, not many!) and how my words and actions might have impacted my partners.

One scene I can still vividly remember seeing from last night was from about 11 years ago.  I was going through the final stages of my divorce.  My ex-husband's and my lawyer had both said it was the nicest and most cordial divorce they had ever been through.  We had tried to remember who we were as Christians and treated each other with respect and kindness through our mediation.

Greg had decided to let me remain in our house, so the boys could stay in their surroundings and not be disrupted by the divorce.  He agreed to move about a mile down the street so they boys could still be close to their Dad.

I remember driving home on the day Greg and his Parents were packing up his things and moving furniture.  I pulled into our cul-de-sac and saw cars in the driveway.  They were still there busy loading up his things. I didn't want to go inside or near the house.  I knew it would be terribly hard and awkward.  So, after sitting there for a few minutes, I drove away knowing it would be the last time Greg would be a part of our home.

It was a sad day.  A memory God presented and allowed to come to me in my dream last night.  My little red Honda Element sitting in the cul-de-sac, across from my driveway.  I could see all the cars there, and I remembered thinking Greg was inside packing and moving the furniture he was taking with him.

When that day actually occurred, in real life, I had been relieved.  Greg and I had lived together through our divorce, and I had done most of my grieving over the months leading up to the divorce.  I was ready to exhale and begin a new life.  But in my dream last night, God's Spirit impressed upon me how Greg must have been feeling that day - I felt a heavy weight of empathy envelop me.  How sad Greg must have been to leave a house and a home we built together for almost 20 years and how hard it must have been to leave his two boys to move to a house down the street all alone.

One by one, the Lord presented different situations to me - each time surrounding me with the heavy weight of empathy, the other person's feelings, and what it must have felt like to be on the other side of me.

I woke up wide awake and with a burden that felt like a heavy sack of grain on my shoulders.  The sadness was overwhelming.

I didn't know who that girl was in my dream.  She was surely not the same person I am today.  I was overcome with guilt and empathy for the people my life had intersected with.  I got up, showered, and tried to get ready for my day at work.  I tried to shake the feelings I had been given and the images the Lord presented to me overnight, but about 30 min. into my morning routine, I was overcome with a deep need to speak to the Lord.

I stopped what I was doing and sat down on my bed.  I bowed my head and began to pray.  Thirty minutes later, I had given my burdens to the Lord.  I'd laid them at His feet and asked Him to remove them from me. I apologized and asked for forgiveness, and I had - most importantly - asked Him to instill kindness within my nature so I could produce this fifth Fruit of the Spirit.  

"Lord, I don't want to hurt anyone anymore.  Please help me to remember these moments and learn from them.  I don't want to hurt anyone anymore."

Kindness is a hard Fruit of the Spirit to produce sometimes.  People try our patience.  People hurt us.  But yet, if we abide in Christ, we should be able to overcome the obstacles the devil puts in our path to produce the Fruits of the Spirit.

In Romans 2:4, the Bible says, "...or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness...not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"

That was the first Scripture I read this morning.  Kind of unbelievable, but yet God is always right on time.

The kindness of God leads us to repentance, just like I experienced last night.  God's kindness last night led me to repenting and asking for forgiveness for my past.  It taught me about kindness and how to produce it.

When we are kind, God will use it to draw people to us.

"As the Holy Spirit works in us, transforming us, pouring the image of Christ in us, pouring His kindness into us, it’s that fruit that will lead to the salvation of people around us. It’s not us winning an argument or showing them how much we know. It’s the evidence of God’s work in us, of His kindness, that leads to repentance and gives true credibility to our message."

I am incredibly thankful for a God that forgives (and forgets) our transgressions and loves us so much, He knows we can change and he shows us how to do so with gentleness and love.

I am grateful He taught me about kindness last night.  I can't wait to begin producing fruit...

* * * * *

"Dear Lord, thank you for your forgiving nature.  The ability to forget and forgive our transgressions.  Your deep love for me is astounding.  You change me all the time, and I am so thankful for new chances every morning.

I want to be the person You desire for me to be.  I want to show people who You truly are - Your kind and gentle nature - drawing more to You each day.

Thank you for new beginnings.  I love you. Amen."

No comments:

Post a Comment