Sunday, March 3, 2024

Self-Control - Finding Out You Can Possess this Fruit of the Spirit


"Father, the power of the Spirit that is in me, which is greater than the spirit that is in this world, I ask that You would daily pour Your power, love, and peace into my life so I may walk in self-control, courage, and with a sound mind. When my thoughts race and my mind defaults to a spirit of fear, may Your perfect love cast out fear so I may stand firm and unwavering and live with conviction in a world of compromise. Amen."

My weekend started out well.

My journey had been getting better each day.  Each day has its own challenges, and every day, it is still a challenge to remove David from my thoughts, placing those memories at the feet of Jesus and asking Him to remove them from my mind along with breaking the chains that keep me attached to them and the family I once built with David.

My Christian Counselor has been simply amazing, my family has been incredible, and above all - the Lord filled my February calendar (the traditional month of love and a month I had so much fear circling around me about) with so much love, I could hardly keep up.

I remember lying down to sleep one week night and hearing the Lord quietly whisper to me, "You may not have anyone for Valentine's Day, but I am filling your entire month with love."  I saw a picture of a calendar in my mind for the month of February, and I could see all the dates and events He had already etched into place.  I felt His peace surround me, and I may have even quietly weeped before falling asleep.

The presence of God is so good.

The last and ninth Fruit of the Spirit is self-control.  We read about it in 2 Tim. 1:7.

As I headed into the weekend a few days ago, two of my facebook pages received an Admin invite from David's gaming page to join the private group associated with that page.  I teetered back and forth mentally with the invites and then accepted both.

It left me confused.  Why would David send me an invite to join a private group of his?  If you have been keeping up with my writings, you know I was completely destroyed by David's leaving five months ago.

The invites seemed odd to me, but I tried not to give them any more thought.

Then came Saturday afternoon.  I wasn't feeling well, so I decided to lay down for a bit and find a movie to watch. I settled on Apple Film's, "Napoleon."

As I watched the relationship develop and grow between Napoleon and Josephine, my mind reflected back onto my relationship with David.

The five years I spent with David were the happiest (inside a relationship, that is) and also the most emotionally intimate years of my adult life.

But as I laid there watching the movie and thinking back over my relationship with David and the two invites that had come the day before, the Lord kept laying on my heart a few of David's last spoken words to me one Sunday afternoon in - of all places - our church parking lot.  Words that shattered me as he spoke:

"I am so much happier without you in my life now."

"You are not a nice person.  You just aren't!"

"I will never forgive you." (After I apologized for what hurt him and then asked him to forgive me.)

"My family is pissed off at you!" (After I asked if could sit down with his parents and sister to talk through any feelings they might have.)

"I don't believe what God gave us was a gift."

I instantly knew accepting those two invitations to David's Facebook page's private group had been a wrong decision.

Now, God was pressing on my thoughts and heart trying to remind me how cruel David had been that day, how unforgiving, and how unmoving.

So, listening to the pressings on my heart, I removed both of my facebook pages from David's private group.

But - and here is where I messed up, veering out on my own, past where God had led - I didn't want David to see the accepted invites and then see me exiting his private group the next day.  I didn't want to be accused of playing games.

So I sent a brief email to David, explaining why I had left the group.  I explained my hurt and how shattered I had been by his last words to me and that I only wished God's best for him in the future.

I never expected a response.

He had never responded to anything sent before, so why should this be any different?

I prayed, "God, I do not need a response, so please do not let one come."  But I also prayed that my words would have effect on David's heart, that it might finally become softened and pliable, growing tender and sensitive toward the Holy Spirit.

That he might finally understand the power of words and that accepting as well as granting forgiveness is something God wants for us.  It frees us from the pain we carry. We do it for ourselves, not the other party or anyone else.

Late Saturday night, while out with friends, a response arrived in my Inbox.  Inside his short e-mail, David mentioned having health issues.

My family and friends told me not to reply, but inside, I really wanted to extend God's love and the power of prayer over David.

I struggled through the night, crafting out words carefully that a reply could contain - but with no pressing from God, I knew I'd be on my own, and that was a place I did not want to be. I continued to pray as I tossed and turned all night.

Finally, when morning broke, I started the coffee and grabbed my books.  Sitting at the kitchen counter, I opened up my first devotional.  It read:

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.—2 Timothy 1:7 

And there it was.

Good morning Holy Spirit.  Thank you for reminding me and confirming to me I made the right choice - to exercise self-control.

Like a ton of bricks, this lesson on the ninth Fruit of the Spirit - self-control hit home hard: "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."

Praise God, I had exercised power and love and, most importantly, self-control the night before. 💜 What a gift and sigh of relief to receive this confirmation through Scripture the next morning.

And how fitting that God would save today to begin my lessons on self-control.  So like Jesus!

Remember this - when we have nothing else, we will still always have Jesus. He never leaves our sides.

I am so glad I took the advice of my family and friends.  I am so glad I asked Jesus for help and guidance and then listened for Him to answer me on whether I should send a reply to David's email or not.

God had been silently telling me, "No," all night. All I had to do was listen.

I bowed my head, wept silently through prayers for myself, for David's health, and for my boys.

I asked God to always grant me the ability to exercise self-control when He demands it and to help me produce this last Fruit of the Spirit without an inner fight (not an easy task; I know I will need His help)!  And then, I began writing.

I know this post is long, but it was cathartic for me. I needed to exhale and write down my experience and feelings.

These writings will always be here to remind me what to do when flesh starts to outweigh Spirit.

God is faithful to us always and to where we are at any specific moment in time.

I am thankful He showed up this morning at the precise moment I needed Him. 

Today, I learned I can produce at least one Fruit of the Spirit - self-control!

"Thank you Jesus.  I love you.  Thank you for your sacrifice of love and for my personal gift of salvation.  I pray you will always guide me, especially in matters of the heart where I am still struggling today.

I ask for release from any remaining 'chains' inside my heart tied to David.  My heart hurts still.  The memories linger still.  I miss the presence, the love, and the companionship.  I miss the life we built and the foundation we were building for the future.

I feel like such a failure at times!

His words were extremely cruel at the end, and He became a person I didn't recognize.

I have done as you asked - I have asked both You and him for forgiveness for my part in any hurt I may have given out along the way.

Thank You for forgiving me.

I pray one day You will soften David's heart, and he will let the Holy Spirit inside it to work. And then, he too will learn how to forgive and feel the freedom forgiving grants.

Thank you Jesus for the family and friends surrounding me and for keeping my calendar full when it needs to be and for the quiet, alone times as well so that I may recharge and have time to read, study, and recenter.

Jesus, I pray for my sons.

Please keep an eye on them.  Guard their paths and decisions.

May they always return to You, and may You protect them all the days of their lives.

I am so thankful for their presence in my life, their wisdom and maturity, and their great love.

In Jesus name, Amen."



  1. Beautiful words. So glad fur your willingness to share your hurts and happiness with us. Thank you for revealing how God is healing you. You are a great friend. We are so glad that we could surround you with love in February !!

    1. I love writing because not only is it cathartic, but my ultimate prayer is that it helps others struggling - and to that end, that is something I need to work on a little better in my writing - turning my stories into examples of how God loves ALL of us and can help us through the valley and rough patches. Now, who left this very nice comment? Thank you for the sweetness, and I'm so glad God blessed me with friends like you to surround me!