Thursday, 29 March 2012

Sisters



This is me and my younger sister, Brooklyn.

If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.  ~Linda Sunshine

  Let me give you a little background before I launch into my blind-leading-the-blind advice about sisterly bonding. Little me was born into a family with four older siblings in their mid teens, I was the baby and treated as such. Having just turned four, I'm pretty sure I was envious of my new sister. I'm the type of person, even now, that adores the center of attention. I don't strive to put myself in it the way some do, but when I find myself there, I am quite content. Therefore, I was probably not so pleased when I received a little sister, her adorable chubby cheeks and little tiny toes stealing all of my attention. I had a problem with tattle tailing and she had an issue with biting. Who knew that adorable face could cause so much damage! Though we had some great moments, we could have had a lot more if I had been able to share. If I'd been happier with myself and didn't feel the need to put her down. But, as we all know, this blog isn't about the past. It's about the PRESENT. And being positive in the moment, right now. So while I can't go back to the days when my sister tortured me and I provoked her, I can do this: I can work on being a better sister right now. I can work on strengthening the bond between us and undoing whatever pain I may have caused her. Here are my ideas for building a better relationship with my sister(s). 

Four ways to strengthen relationships with your siblings:  

Let the past go.
This is a LOT easier said than done (especially if you were the one that was hurt more often in the past), but, as I've stated It's not coming back. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt us or cause pain, but it's over. Consistently dwelling on it really doesn't help anything. If you can't let it go, talk it out. Talking about it, getting it out on the table and into the open, might really help the relationship (even if it's painful). The quote "Sisters never quite forgive each other for what happened when they were five" may be true, but siblings can work on forgiveness. Forgiveness, like most worthwhile things, takes work and consistency.

Acknowledge the now. You are a different person than you were when you were a child. You have changed. Your sibling has changed. Be aware of that. I've often thought "If we weren't sisters, would we be better friends?" Sadly, I think we would. Try to think about who you are now and try, if you can, to think of your sibling as a friend. 

Be open to communication. Listen to each other and really try to understand what the other wants from you. Maybe one of you wants to be BFF. Maybe the other would rather have very limited contact. Try to find a compromise and, to do this, you have to communicate. Communication really is KEY. 

Look for the positive.
I bet you could see this one coming a mile away, but it really is important so I couldn't leave it out. If you've read this far, you obviously have a desire for a good relationship with your sibling so stop thinking and focusing on the things that bother you. Think, instead, of the things you love and enjoy about them. I'm going to start right now on this one. Here are some things I really love about my younger sister: she gets so excited about silly things (like spiders and cars), she has the BEST laugh in the whole world, she is fiercely loyal and loving, she calls me out on things that no one else has the nerve to do and always supports my music and writing.

                                                                ~Grace~

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Q&A: Guy Friends



Q: As a young woman of 17 I would like to know how to be "just friends" with guys, but don't know how. Any advice? 

A:  It wasn't to long ago when I was navigating through my teen years and into early adult hood. Actually, I still am. Throughout these years the one issue that has always been a mystery is "friendships with guys". How much time should I spend with them? How do these relationships differ from those with my girlfriends? Is is okay to hang out or talk on the phone? I've always wished for a simple set of rules. Just a little list of "do's and dont's" that I could carry with me to refer back to. These rules would guarantee a great outcome, and no longer would I have to worry about that little conscience of mine - however, I've learned that this is a wisdom issue, and that the Bible is the main source for that wisdom.

A verse I often refer to regarding this topic is 1 Timothy 5:1-2 where Paul tells Timothy that he should, “Treat…younger women like sisters, in all purity.” Now if guys are called to treat us as “sisters in all purity,” then we should in turn must act like sisters, in purity! Here within this verse is the wisdom we're looking for. Ask yourselves—do I treat my guy friends as I would my own brother? Am I behaving in absolute purity toward guys?

I also quickly learned that my friendships with guys needed to look rather different than my friendships with girls. I was discussing this topic with a trusted mentor once and they said  "Grace, guys read into things just as much as girls do. When a girl shows consistent attention to one guy, it can cultivate affection in that guy’s heart." While I may have been considering my guy friends as brothers, they quite possibly could have been thinking that there was something more. I also remember having someone tell me to relate to all guys as "another woman's husband."  I found this little phrase to be very helpful in relating to my guy friends.

All things aside, friendships with guys are not wrong. Actually, I would argue that friendships with godly young men during this season of life are a gift and something to be enjoyed. As one of four girls (aside from my two older brothers 16 yrs. before me) I'm very grateful for the guys that are my "brothers" during these years. If we pursue the principles of purity and brotherly love displayed for us in scripture, we can be free to enjoy godly friendships with guys as blessing from our heavenly Father.

                           ~Grace~

*Do you have any questions that you'd like me to try and answer or a topic that I could give my opinion on? Feel free to send them to me in a comment or via email at foreverhisalone@yahoo.ca

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Knowing Love


Loving others and being loved is what makes life worth living. Countless people have gone through times in their life when they felt unloved or had no one to love. If they consistently dwell on those thoughts, it can cause them to end up extremely unhappy and depressed. Some are influenced to the extent of suicide. 

Love is the energy of life. It's what motivates us to awake each morning and keep going. Love gives life meaning and purpose. Society is looking for love, but they are really looking for God, because God is love. So many of us look for fulfillment in different ways that seem beneficial, but often leave us feeling frustrated, disappointed and empty. Only by putting love into action, continually reaching out to show love through various acts of kindness can we find the true fulfillment we're all so desperately seeking.    

                                            ~Grace~
Photo From Google Images

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Society's Optimism and Christian hope


 On the surface hope, and optimism appear to be two different terms for the same concept. But deeper research shows that they are two very different concepts. Although both are generally thought of as positive, both have different qualities and are not interchangeable! What is hope? Is it an emotion? Or a state of mind? 

I recently saw these words on a sign: It said, "Hope Is Real." I pondered it and (clearly) agreed with the statement. But as I thought about the seemingly simple little phrase, I came to realized that for an astonishing amount of people hope is not real. This is one of the most influential gifts we can give to one another, the gift of hope. Someone who is hopeless and alone generally cannot help themselves out of their situations. They have a mass sense of loss and helplessness. We must as believers come alongside and bring the good news of Jesus Christ and all that He has to offer. 

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 NIV
   
One particular definition for hope I found was: To look forward to with confidence or expectation. We need to bring the Word of God packaged in all its hope for someone who does not know it is real. When we deliver hope, we also deliver life. It is life changing to at long last believe again.

I've thought for a long time that one of the biggest issues we have in society is there are so many people who have lost hope. There seems to be so many troubles, financial problems, political concerns, etc. It feel's like the world has no hope. Aside from God, this place is place is hopeless. But with God's assistance, we can make it. You should know that no matter what situation you find yourself in at this time, there IS hope. You may not be able to see or feel it at this time, but it is there for you. How do you find it? There in only one place to truly find hope, and that is in Christ Jesus.

                                         ~Grace Nation~


Thursday, 1 March 2012

The power of Words

Source: Google Images

Words have a huge impact on all our lives. I know people who have lived a life of damaging insecurity because words of judgment and failure were spoken to them on a regular basis. These people can only be healed through God's unconditional love. They have been wounded in their souls (their inner selves, their mind and emotions), a place to which only God has complete access. However, once they are wounded by the words of others it takes time to rise above the wrong image they have of themselves. This is why it's crucially important that we learn to use our words for blessing and building up others, not wounding and tearing others down. Like Ephesians 4:29 says "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word that is good for edification according the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."
As Christians we should not tell people something unless we want them to become what we're saying. Words create an image inside of us, Proverbs 23:7 says that "as a person thinks in his heart, so is he." Believing the best in people and speaking words that build them up is one way of loving them. Think of these words and then ponder about how they make you feel:

Ugly     Stupid     Failure     Insignificant     Hopeless     Unworthy     Clumsy

Do they make you feel uplifted, exuberant about life as though you can be a success at anything you attempt? I am sure they don't. Now consider words like:

Attractive     Intelligent     Blessed     Creative     Talented     Hopeful     Lovely

I am sure such words affect you in a much more positive way.
Finally, read and consider these scriptures in light of the power of words:

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad." -Proverbs 12:25 

"Pleasant words are as honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body." -Proverbs 15:23

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it (for death of life) -Proverbs 18:21

You can see why words are so important in the life of the person who genuinely desires to walk in love toward others. 

                                      ~Grace~