Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

When I Hurt a Friend with my Words

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Caro Wallis via photopin cc

I’d like to tell you that I never say or do anything that would harm another person. I’d like to say that I was never insensitive or inconsiderate. I’d love to tell you that every word I utter or type is grounded in wisdom, kindness and love. I wish I could tell you that I’ve never hurt a friend, but that would be a lie. I’m here to say that I did hurt a friend, and I so wish it wasn’t true.

As a blogger, some of my blogs are written more off the cuff than others. Most are the result of study and prayer. I try to make sure I word things in a way that is truthful but also gentle and compassionate. I also try to be very clear about the tone, direction and meaning of what I’m writing. Sometimes I get it wrong. In a recent blog, I made a comment that brought hurt to the heart of a dear friend and sweet sister in the Lord. I was so glad that she made her feelings known to me in such a gentle and loving way. I’m glad we had the openness to talk about it and that she caused me to take another look at what I wrote. In doing so, I recognize so clearly where my words were both hurtful and also misleading.

You see, in an effort to encourage deeper relationships within the church (particularly within the sisterhood of the church family), I made a comment that would seem to readers to completely dismiss the close friendships and relationships that I have been so blessed with over the past seven or so years. As I re-read the blog, I got a clear picture of how hurtful those words could be. I immediately regretted ever penning them. As my eyes moistened, I was reminded by the Spirit that I can sometimes be so blind to how powerful words can be. They can edify or tear down. They can encourage or discourage. They can speak goodness or darkness. They can make a friend feel loved or they can make her feel like her friendship wasn’t what she thought it was.

I apologized to my friend last night, but I wanted to write this blog because I want to be real with you. As a blogger, I’m sharing words every day that can be powerful. It’s so important that we use those words wisely. It’s important that we think before we speak. I value my friend so very much. I’ve been so blessed by her friendship, love and support. Her and her family have been an encouragement to us, helped us when we were hurting and shown us the love of God. When I wrote those words, I didn’t even consider how they were going to be taken. I didn’t mean what they implied. Still, harmful words are hard to erase.

I’m blessed to know that my friend has forgiven me, and I so hope she knows how much I care for her and appreciate her friendship. I hope she knows I treasure her and her family. Life as a believer in Christ is all about growing, and we never stop learning….usually from our mistakes. I’ve learned a lot from this one. Hopefully you too can learn something from my mistake before having to make it yourself.

Words are powerful. Use with caution!`

Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

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What Selfies Don’t Reveal

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Ah the selfies! They are constantly flowing through the social media news streams and allowing us to see the side of people that they want to share. I know people who take a ton of selfies and others who never post pictures of themselves. Media reports talk about connections between producing massive quantities of selfies and such concepts as narcissism. I don’t know. I think ultimately there are two points that cannot logically be refuted:

1. People share selfies because they want others to admire them in one way or another; and

2. People only share what they want you to see.

Smiles, silly faces, glam shots….selfies can bring out many different characteristics and even emotions. Some people go for the goofy approach, giving us a sampling of their fun and playful personality. Others are clearly the result of careful calculation to make sure the best angles and lighting are achieved for maximum beauty. Some selfies are subtly sexy in nature. The pout. The big eyes. There are many variables. At the end of the photo shoot, hopefully you have something to share that will acquire tons of “likes” and be admired by many.

As eager as some are to take stunning selfies, they are just as keen and cautious to avoid pictures that are less flattering. We only share what we want people to see and we only want people to see the very best side of us. Yet, as I glance through the pictures, I can’t help but wonder what’s really going on in the lives of these lovely people whom I care about and love. What’s going on in their hearts? How are their walks with the Lord? Do they need prayer? Help? A hug? Selfies don’t tell us these things…in fact, they seem to often be more of a masquerade or charade.

Anyone can make a beautiful. photo-shopped picture, pop it up on their wall and make the world believe they’re happy. Then when the news breaks that there’s been marital problems, addition issues, illness and financial strain, we are all so surprised. After all, they looked so happy in those pictures. Their lives looked so together.

It’s not wrong for us to want others to see the best sides of us, nor to smile even when we’re hurting inside. I just think we need to be willing to be real with one another…at least those trustworthy people in our lives who can handle the raw, unfiltered ugliness that we ALL experience from time to time. You see, we live in a fallen, sin-infested world in bodies that are prone to breaking down. None of us have perfect lives. None of us have selfie-approved lives all of the time. Sometimes we’re a mess. Sometimes we have bad hair! haha Sometimes we are hurting far beyond what anyone can comprehend.

Friends, sometimes we are so desperate for people to admire us and look up to us that we refuse to admit when we need help, prayer or support. We need to strip off those chains and be willing to let others in. God never intended us to travel this narrow path alone. We need each other. Holding it all in will only cause us harm and additional pain. Share your burdens with each other and be available to help carry the burdens of others. That’s the true Christian way. That’s the Jesus way.

You know what’s awesome? God shows us in His Word that it is the beauty of the heart that matters. It matters so much more than the physical beauty that the world craves. I’m not saying we should stop taking selfies. They can be lots of fun to share and see. What I am saying is that I’m not content with selfie relationships that are based only on outward, photo-shopped illusions. I am willing to be real and show my beloved sisters in the Lord who I really am….the good and the bad. I know they will love me for all of me and they will encourage me, which will make me a better person in the end. As we edify one another in the Lord, the beauty of our hearts grow. That’s true beauty!

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A Collection of Closed Doors – What Now?

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“When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

I’ve heard this catch phrase, and others like it, all my life. Some young people brought up in Christian homes probably think it’s a scripture from the Bible, though it’s not. It’s just a phrase Christians oftentimes use to explain and accept that a direction they were going is no longer a possibility and therefore God must have something better in mind. He closes a door. He opens another….or a window?

Why the window, by the way? Is it to indicate that the second option is more difficult? Requires more effort? Perhaps it’s that the jump down from the window will require a leap of faith? Regardless, I did a couple of quick searches to identify the origins of this phrase.

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look 
so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we 
do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell

Seems to be wise words from Mr. Bell there, although he indicates that the doors themselves are opening and closing themselves rather than being opened and closed by someone or something. I believe whole-heartedly that God opens and closes “door”, opportunities, etc. I also believe that doors are opened and closed by our choices, and not just ours personally but the choices of mankind. I’m not saying that God isn’t sovereign. He certainly is, and nothing happens that doesn’t cross his “desk” so to say for approval or veto. God allows us to make choices and therefore some of those choices are going to be us pushing open doors that should be closed and cementing closed windows that could be the right way out. It’s called free will.

God does close and open doors though, and He does guide us in the way He wants us to go. Sometimes in life it seems like all we have is closed doors. Being one who has been through many times of trouble and difficult periods of time, there have been occasions when I’ve felt the tug of my heart to lose hope that I’ll ever have an open door. Closed doors. Slammed shut doors. Locked down and boarded doors. I’ve looked down a hallway of endless possibilities and all my eye can see is closed doors.

You know, it can feel that way sometimes. We have the desires of our hearts. We want to happily married. We want to have healthy children. We want to serve in ministry. We want to achieve success in one way or another. We want to provide for our children well. We want these opened doors. It’s so very hard when all of the doors, or some of the most important to you, seem to be closed forever. Heartache. Loss. Hopelessness. These can set in. We can’t take our eyes off of them. We sit there tapping at the closed door until our hands are sore and our hearts broken.

Maybe Mr. Bell was right? It might not be scripture, but wisdom all the same. If we focus too long and hard on the closed door that we fail to see the opened door. We miss it. We also forget to be thankful for the opened doors. We can’t see beyond the closed door.

You know, there was a time I thought that God has closed the door for me to have children naturally. I had suffered infertility for four years. I had been pounding away at that door, heartbroken it wasn’t opening. Finally I moved further down the hallway and started exploring other doors and options. I was about to knock on another door when suddenly, by the hand of God, the door that I had pounded on for years swung wide open. My precious little girl was waiting on the other side…waiting for the right time. God’s timing. He opened the door when everything was perfectly in place.

It may seem like all you have is a collection of closed doors, but God’s got a plan. If we trust Him, He will open the right doors at the right time in the right order and with a glorious outcome. The problem is, we need to keep our eyes on Him and what He’s doing instead of gluing them to one closed door. We need to put the sledgehammer away and stop trying to open the doors in our flesh when we know it isn’t of God. We need to walk by faith and hope, expecting God to do what He does so perfectly. Bring your requests to Him and He will open and close the doors by His perfect knowledge and timing.

“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 11:9

 

 

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Cry Out to the Lord and be Saved

“Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.” Psalm 107:19

God never promised we wouldn’t have trouble in this life. In fact, He assured us we would. Life is brutal. The enemy is pacing the doors of our home waiting to pounce on us at every opportunity. Temptation and sin abounds in our land and it is no doubt becoming like the days of Noah before the flood. As the final times approach, we are faced with every trial and challenge one could imagine, and we suffer. We feel the weight of the burden on our shoulders. We experience loss, mourning, poverty and persecution. We weep.

I’ve experienced pain too. I’ve struggled with health issues and financial challenges. I know the pain of infertility. I have lost my share of loved ones. I’ve been touched by depression and grief that only the Lord God could have pulled me out of. Why do I share this? I want to encourage you that, as Christians, it’s okay NOT to be okay sometimes. It’s okay to struggle and to experience sadness. We can weep. Jesus wept for the death of Lazarus, and He knew the big picture and that He would resurrect his friend. God does not expect us to be untouched by the pain of this world. What He expects is for us to cry out to Him in our distress and He promises salvation.

God knows we are weak. He knows we will struggle and go through pain. He gives us permission to cry out to Him. Crying out is an urgent, heart-filled cry for help like a child does in the middle of the night when she has a bad dream. She cries out for her parents to help her and good parents run to their child, embracing her, wiping away her tears and settling her down. That’s what God does. He holds us in His arms, whispers encouragement and brings salvation. He may not remove all of the challenges, but He gives us strength to make it through the trials. He will even give us joy and peace amidst the storms of this life.

While pain is very real, and we are by no means safe from its reach, we have a blessed hope. We know that when we cry out, our God will save us. He will replace mourning with dancing. He will carry us through the fire. Cry out to Him. Cry out!

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

 

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We Need Trials and Tribulation

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:1-5

Yes! I have a flat tire on my car. Yay! My house is infested with termites. Fantastic! I’ve just been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. Yippee! I am behind on my housework, late on a deadline and can’t cover all the bills this month. Thank You Lord for these trials.

I have always found this passage in Romans 5 to be very convicting and also challenging. Throughout my life it has seemed my family (both as a child and now my own family unit) have struggled with many trials. They come often and they come like an avalanche. They hit hard and they keep on hitting. Struggles with finance, health, family relationships and more have been numerous and often bringing an overload of strong emotions for an emotional lady like me. I can say with honesty that my emotional response to the trials that come is rarely joy and thanksgiving. I can truthfully say this is an area I’ve failed in time and time again. Yet, I know that the Lord would not have commanded me to do something that was beyond my capability.

Do you rejoice in trials? Do you thank the Lord for hardships and pain? Romans 5 tells us that we should in fact be grateful for those times when our faith is tested. The trials we face produce in us perseverance or patience. Without these trials its hard to grow in this area. How do you develop patience without have your patience tested? Have you ever met a person with very little patience for others? They snap when someone makes a mistake. Think of the mother in the grocery store with her toddler. When the kid messes around, like kids are prone to do, the mother has no patience to deal with the child in an appropriate way but rather screams at him, slaps him upside the back of the head and shoots others dirty looks for gawking at the scene she’s making. If there is one fruit of the Spirit we need as mothers, and wives, it’s patience! We need it to serve our families and our church family. We need it to serve the lost. I cry out for the Lord to give me patience, and to answer that prayer, He gives me a trial to test my patience. So we thank God that He is working.

Patience creates character. Think about the good and upstanding character of the Proverbs 31 woman. We love to look at her example. She has such an honorable character.  It takes patience for a woman to have that kind of character. You know these women when you meet them. They are prudent, wise and kind. They are slow to anger and quick to love. Patience brings about a beautiful and virtuous character in a woman of God; the kind of character that bring her husband and children to rise up and call her blessed.

Character produces hope and hope doesn’t disappoint. Hope. This small word means so much. You see, hope isn’t a flimsy wish or unreliable dream. Hope is so much more. Hope is a joyful expectation of the goodness to come. Hope is strong and steadfast. Hope is knowing that Christ is coming back. Hope is knowing that these trials are but for a moment, but eternity with God is our future. Hope trumps the pain and suffering we experience. We can get through the worst of trials if we are filled with the unwavering hope of Jesus Christ.

You see, we need hope because the trials aren’t likely to stop coming. The bills will come each month. The cars, like our own bodies, will break down and fail us. The kids will test us often. We know trials are coming. What we need to recognize is that for us to develop as God’s daughters we need trials. We need them so that we can grow in patience, character and glorious hope. While I may not feel now that I can rejoice in tribulations, I have the Holy Spirit within me and with God ALL things are possible. Amen!

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The Bond of Perfection

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Colossians 3:14

This short verse is so incredibly special and rich. Above all things put on love. It’s the bond of perfection. It’s the finishing touch of a list of ways we are to behave towards each other in the church family. Meekness, humility, longsuffering, forgiveness and love. God says above all else, put on love. It’s the bond of perfection.

Most of us are fond of the idea of love. We say “I love you” to family and friends. We sign cards with the traditional “Love” and our names. Generally speaking, I think we love to love others…especially those who love us in return. Yet, with all of these words of love floating about, I think we have yet to grasp the depth of meaning here when God says that love is the bond of perfection. In the church family, and most certainly in our homes, we need to see how love is the bond of perfection, but what does the phrase actually mean?

In the Greek text, the word  for “bond” is “syndesmos” which means “that which binds together, a band, bond, of ligaments by which the members of the human body are united together.” I sometimes think of bond more as in something that is a shared connection between two people. My daughter and I have a special bond. I bonded with a friend over a cup of coffee. These are ways I think of the word “bond”, and yet in this text it seems to mean so much more. This bond is literally the glue that is holding people together. It’s like the very ligaments that hold our own physical bodies together. If we didn’t have these ligaments, we would fall apart. We wouldn’t be able to function. There would be disunity, pain, suffering and complete insufficiency. 

So love is the bond that holds us together. It’s the glue. Maybe we should consider it to be more like the cement, because that’s so much stronger. It’s the ligaments that holds the body of God’s church together. If we don’t have love, we are not together. If we don’t have love, we are not unified. We are not in one accord. We are falling apart. There are a lot of churches out there filled with hurting people because they are not bonded together with love. Usually the sin issues that kill love are selfishness, envy, gossip and pride.

Perfection. The word in Greek is “teleiotēs” and it means “moral and spiritual perfection.” Interestingly it can also mean “the state of the more intelligent”. haha I like that. You know the “church” in America tries to bond itself together with a lot of imperfect things. Some churches try to bond together with the idea of health, wealth and prosperity. Others bond together by misuse and abuse of what are supposed to be spiritual gifts. Some churches bond together by their common rejection of what scripture clearly teaches. There are churches that think they are doing pretty well but find out they are bonded together by shared political ideas, all the “right” doctrines, the concept of baptism, the traditions of the church, etc. These things are imperfect. They are weak bonds at best. They will not hold together. The only perfect bond of perfection is love. We need to be bound by love.

Let us be bound by love, church family. Let us be sure that it is love holding us together. We can have differences of opinion, we can disagree about this or that, we can have our own preferences on worship style or church traditions….but above all things, let us be bonded by the common love that flows from inside each of us where the Holy Spirit dwells. Let His love flow from us and around us, binding us together in unity and wholeness and peace.

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Unconditional Joy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that we cannot expect the world to bring us unconditional joy. You know, we talk a lot about unconditional love. As Christians we understand that God pours His unconditional love upon us and through us, and therefore we are called to love others unconditionally. But what about unconditional joy? What about unconditional hope?

It seems that there are so many Christians dealing with so many horrible circumstances. Health, finances, marriage troubles…the average Christian will be going through hard times at one point or another. Sometimes it’s all the time! Yet, through all of the hard times, we are called to have unconditional joy. How does one do that? Well, we first have to understand and acknowledge that joy is not a response to our circumstances. It shouldn’t be. We should have the joy of the Lord in our hearts in the best and worst of times. Think about it this way: what bad circumstance could cancel out the joy of knowing that Christ died for us to give us eternal life? Nothing.

We need to admit that we cannot create joy in and of ourselves. We cannot work hard to make ourselves joyful. The joy that we have comes down from the Father through the Holy Spirit. We have joy because He pus His joy in us, and if it’s His joy that’s in us then we should always have it, whether or not we are going through various trials.

Walk in joy today sisters. Know that God has put His joy in you so that you can be a light to the world. So many people are suffering and they need to see your joy; the joy of God spilling over. His love never fails, and neither does his joy.

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Keeper of His Home

Keeper of His Home

My new book is available through my author page at Createspace. Click on the link above. Will be available through regular Amazon channels in about a week and through Kindle in 48 hours!

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Part 6 – Love is not Rude, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“Love does not behave rudely…” 1 Corinthians 13:5

The Greek word for “behaving rudely” can also be translated to “behave itself unbecomingly” and isn’t it interesting that a person who puts on an air of rudeness often loses beauty in our estimation? I can see a beautiful woman walking across the room and think, “wow she is a stunning woman.” Then when I go to say hello she snubs me and looks at me like I just stepped off of an alien spacecraft. Suddenly this beauty has lost her shine and appeal. To think I might have looked up to her for her outward appearance, but now I wouldn’t even want to be in her presence.

That’s what rude behavior does to us ladies. It strips us of our beauty, shine and warmth and makes us into nasty creatures. That should be the last thing we want. I know what I want most is for my husband and daughter to look at me as if I am the most wonderful, special and loving person in the world. I don’t want them to see me as rude and obnoxious. I don’t want my Christian sisters and friends to think of me a as a rude person they have to put up with, but rather a woman who exhibits the love of Christ. We should desire to be beautiful, but not as the world sees. We should seek to exhibit the kind of beauty that God’s finds spectacular—a woman who fears the Lord and loves her family.

As a homekeeper, it is so very easy to slip into rude behavior behind closed doors. Sure, we can clean up nicely when we are out with our family at church or in town. We smile. We bridle our tongues and hold back the urge to make rude remarks. We are constrained by the desire to “look good” and that keeps us from rude behavior when eyes are upon us. The question is, what happens when the spectators are gone? Are we as kind, gently and compassionate to our own family?

We keepers of the home often get somewhat run-down by hectic schedules, long chore lists and the ever-present need to be on top of everything. Sometimes with this exhaustion comes a sort of laziness with how we treat our husband and kids at home. We are more comfortable to unwind and say whatever we like. We don’t feel the need to impress them so we struggle with nagging, unedifying speech and impatience. We need to remember that behaving in a way that is unbecoming is just as bad when its towards our family members in private. When I flippantly shout at my husband to get his own dinner and then start chowing down before he has time to join me, that’s rude. When I ignore my daughter’s questions (even when I’m not actively engaged in other activities or conversations) that’s rude. When I nag and whine and complain, that is very unbecoming.

Lord, help us to be women who are beautiful by Your standard and not women who behave rudely. Love is not rude. Love is compassionate, caring, edifying, humble and kind. We are learning so much about what love is and what it isn’t. I find it so very moving how it all can apply directly and in a special way for homekeepers.

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