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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Boll Weevils!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Boll Weevils!: Do you have Boll Weevils in your life? Funny thought I know, but for some reason, I read about Boll Weevils some time ago, and learned they ...

Boll Weevils!

Do you have Boll Weevils in your life? Funny thought I know, but for some reason, I read about Boll Weevils some time ago, and learned they are small beetles that feed on cotton plants. They are ugly little creatures, but can multiply very quickly, and are deadly to a cotton field. Cotton plantations figured out after a lot of losses, they had to totally irradicate these pests. They had to trade what they had always done for something new.

Boll Weevils in our lives can infest our spirit and destroy all that God wants for us. Change is hard. Old habits are no longer effective, so they need to be replaced. So many things come into our lives to destroy what we know is right and good. Just like Boll Weevils, we have to change and put alternate measures into our lives to turn things around.

For cotton it's a matter of resting the soil by rotating crops. If the thing Boll Weevils feed on is gone, so the little pests will move on. I have to use that same plan in my life when my Boll Weevils start to destroy. I have learned the most from my Boll Weevils. They were sins I allowed into my life, and they threatened to destroy my relationship with Jesus. They threatened my emotions, spiritual life, prayer time, and almost destroyed relationships.

Before I met JESUS, I was not connected to Church, or even acknowledging Christ. I lived for me, and me alone. My Boll Weevils of greed, anger, selfishness, pride, witchcraft, alcohol and money made me feel good. That was my priority. I didn't want to change, or see any need to. Eventually that life had to end. JESUS brought me to Him, forgave me, and became my personal Savior. Loss of the old ways was not easy, but it was an opportunity to learn new ways, God's ways.

God used a number of vises to squeeze me enough to shape me into the woman He meant me to be, when He created me. It has taken over 30 years to mold me, and we aren't done yet. The word suffering in Greek means pressure to create
God's character in us. God has used my suffering and hardships (consequences of sin) and my pain to help me give up bad habits, and to learn new virtues.

In my brokenness, I can be made whole. God and I have been on many journeys to that wholeness, and each journey has grown me. He has taught me so much, and I have gotten to know Christ so well. God loves me too much to leave me the way I was. My character and heart development is more important to Him than the easiness of my life. Whenever I have been broken, I have been desperate to change, and eventually willing to repent and ask forgiveness. The Boll Weevils are destroyed and the soil of my heart is restored.

Unlike real Boll Weevils and cotton, I am the one that invites them back into my life. Each time God quietly speaks to my spirit through the Holy Spirit. He shows me those pesky sins I allowed in, and once again irradicates them from my life. Those lessons are ongoing and hard, but there is God's Glory in suffering. There were times in those deserts when I thought the vise would never let go. It always has and there is learning and joy when the lesson is learned.

I am human, I still make mistakes, I sin. Even when lessons are learned, I fall down. Jesus picks me up, clears my field, and shows me how to turn around. He never tires of growing me. For that I praise Him, even when it hurts!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Am His!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Am His!: We are His people. You and I are examples of what God can do with a life totally yielded to Him. Notice I said totally. A partial yielding i...

I Am His!

We are His people. You and I are examples of what God can do with a life totally yielded to Him. Notice I said totally. A partial yielding is no yielding at all. If we are going to claim JESUS as our Savior, we become sons and daughters of the King! That means our lives are yielded to Him, to do His will. Whatever choices we make, Christ is living in us. If we are yielded, others can see JESUS, and tap into that.

Because we are fearfully and wonderfully made, we were a part of His plan before we were reality. We have a duty to live our lives for Him, so others can benefit. Out there in the world we are being watched. If I don't know your JESUS, will you tell me? Even if I am not open, will you try to reach me? If I see you living in the world, doing as the world does, how do I know your God is right? 

If I have a problem and you turn away, why should I believe God is love? I am your neighbor, your friend, your co-worker. I am the grocery store cashier you look right past. I am the waitress who serves you. When you get angry and blame me for being too slow, or forgetting your coffee, you don't show me Christ's love. Do you know how my day has been? As a child of Jesus, do you care?

I watch Christians, but what they say doesn't always match what they do. When I see you praising Jesus with your mouth on Sunday, then see you using the same mouth out in the world to curse others, how can I believe you? When I see you do as the world does, then tell me lying and cheating is sin, how can I believe you? If you are unfaithful and put unclean things in your mind, but never miss Church, what should I think?

If your God is only convenient on Sunday, how can I accept that He is merciful and full of love? I might want to accept your JESUS for myself, but if He has so little effect on what you do, how can I believe?
If He is not totally your Savior, how can I want Him as mine? I watch you quoting scripture, praying, and worshipping, and you seem sincere. Then I see the shows you watch, the anger you display, and the worldly things that seem more important to you than God. 

I am confused. If God is love, joy, patience, grace, and mercy, and your very best friend, why don't I see it? I know you say you love Him. I know you try to follow Him totally. I also know you have skin on, just like me. I think I will follow Christ, accept His free gift of salvation for me. I think I will always be a sinner, but I will be a forgiven one. You did show me something, in between the lines, I caught glimpses of Jesus.

I have decided to accept your Jesus as my Jesus. I will commit to living for the King. I am going to let Jesus lead in all my life every day. I will totally yield to Him, but I can't do that by myself. I will fall away, just like you have done, because I am human. I can only live for Him with His help 24/7. I will yield so someone else will watch, someone else will see a glimpse of Jesus and believe!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Want To Be Like.....

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Want To Be Like.....: Have you learned to be happy with who you are? Are you content with yourself? I think it's easy for we humans to struggle with that. Whe...

I Want To Be Like.....

Have you learned to be happy with who you are? Are you content with yourself? I think it's easy for we humans to struggle with that. When we look in a mirror, we don't see what others see. We see a convoluted image that says too thin, too fat, too short, too tall, bad hair, wrong nose, big ears, and on and on.  Our society has told us, (and we believed it), that there are strict rules of perfection. If you don't measure up, you have no worth.

We are convinced that the way we look, and what we do define our whole being. We are so much more than that. As one with self-esteem issues, this is hard to deal with. I was always short. That meant always first row for school programs, pictures, and last picked for basketball teams. I was not good at sports, and I hated PE. I remember being with my friends on the playground in sixth grade. They were all five feet tall, or taller, and I thought that was the ultimate goal. If only I could be five feet tall, I thought to myself. As the year progressed, I did attain five feet in height, but sadly the other girls also grew, and now they were still taller. Eventually we stopped growing....alas, I never attained taller than five feet.

In high school, I wanted to be popular. I made choir, and I made our School's Drill Team. I was popular to a point, yet, somehow always just on the edge. Others made it seem so easy. Because I had very low self-esteem, I was a little shy, and didn't join in easily.  I watched the really popular girls, and wished I had their confidence.

It was easier in College. I was where no one knew me. I could unfurl my wings, and be who I wanted to be. Those choices weren't always good, but people saw me as different than the shy young girl I left behind. I was in a sorority, I was accepted!  From there to the working world, I slowly gained a new level of who I thought I wanted to be. It was a world's view, but for the first time in my life, I was in charge. I dressed my way, became more outgoing, and entertaining. People actually liked me. It was all shallow.

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, and let Him take over and mold me, I evolved once more. This time JESUS was in charge. He has been molding me, shaping me, and changing me for over 30 years and I am better, but not there yet! JESUS has taught me so much about myself, and who He designed me to be. Still, at the beginning, I would look at other believers, especially well known ones, and I would think, "Wow, wish I had a cool testimony like them." What I have learned is, God had me planned, before my parents were born. He knows exactly who I am to be, and how He will accomplish that. I do not have to be what the world says is cool. I don't have to be like anyone else. I am Me. I am important! I have a purpose, because God has a plan for me.

I have learned more about myself in the last half of my life, than I would have thought possible. I was just ordinary, on the lower end of scholarly, and at best not ugly. God has shown me that He gave me gifts of creativity, empathy, compassion, and threw in writing and humor. In Him, it doesn't matter what's on the outside, but what is on the inside. I still can't play sports, I can't reach things on the top grocery shelves, and some days I still feel inferior to everyone else. Those moments are fleeting now. I know whose I am, and I'm really O.K. With who I am becoming! I don't wish much anymore, I just say "Thank You Lord!"

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Pain Is A Pain!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Pain Is A Pain!: No one wants it. No one greets it with open arms. No one ever truly understands why it comes to them or loved ones, or friends. Pain has man...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Did I Do?

I look back now, to this point where God has led me, and I know I did nothing wrong. I will, however,never forget the words. Growing up, a small little girl learned early, that nothing she did would ever be good enough. I was an only adopted child, and my mother's displeasure terrified me. She never hurt me physically, aside from the normal spankings, but it was her words that hurt.

The words cut deep into a tender heart, but she didn't understand. She wanted perfection in everything. A perfect house, perfect meals, perfect appearance, perfect husband, perfect child. I was only seven, when she tried to teach me to peel fruit for canning. I managed to get more fruit than skin. Mother got upset, and said I was hopeless, useless, and told me to try harder. "Why can't you ever do anything right," she told me over and over. 

Abuse is abuse, whether emotional, verbal, psychological, or physical. There was never anything I did that pleased her. My friends were lacking, because their fathers weren't important business men. Why couldn't I make friends with rich and influential people. My friends were ordinary, and plain, just like me.
She made me feel inferior and stupid my whole life. 

Her friends children were all smarter, prettier, and would amount to successful adults. "Why can't you be like them?"  I had no idea why. I tried hard to be what she wanted, yet always fell short. My value was diminished. I grew up thinking I was not worthy, not loveable, not important.  Even in a group, she never let me express myself. She talked for me, telling others what I liked and didn't like. Never once did she understand what I liked, or even who I was. She wanted a perfect daughter, a clone of herself. Nothing else would do.

I became very shy, very withdrawn around her. When I was away from her, I could be "imperfect me." My self esteem was smashed and broken. I made things for her in school;she barely acknowledged them. The gifts found their way into a drawer or closet, never to be seen again. Do you know how that hurts a sensitive, little girl. Never did I hear the words I longed for, "good job, I love it!" I learned early to cry out the hurt in private. 

Tears were never tolerated. If I cried because of harshness and hurt feelings, I was told to stop crying. "You are acting like a baby!" When you already hurt, that heaps more hurt on top. Much as that hurt, the silent treatment hurt worse. If she really was displeased with me, she shut me out, and refused to talk. She did it when I was little, and she did it when I was a grown, married, adult. Sometimes it would last a day or two, sometimes several weeks. Only after, I apologized, and begged, did she start talking to me again. 

While growing up, I did not know this was a form of abuse. The scars I bore were on the inside. I retreated to a fantasy world whenever I could.  My bruised heart could soar, and be happy, in a made up world. No one knew how she was, not even my Dad. He gave her everything, and went to work. In public, she was so nice.  God has since shown me that she was insecure, scared she would fail, and very unhappy. Just as her scars shaped who she was, so did mine.

In most relationships, I took the blame for anything wrong.  When you are told over and over you are incompetent and no good, it becomes a part of you. In my mind I had no value. It may not seem like a big deal, but a child who never hears a positive, but only negative it will leave scars that in turn shape who you are.

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, and let Him take over my life, He began to heal me. He brought everything out in the open, and then helped me deal with it, and forgive. He also gave me back my birth family. At last I had a family that accepted me just as I was, and loved me and valued me. He led me to face the pain of rejection and belittling, and to see my mother as she was. A scared unhappy woman. She could only lift herself up, by tearing others down. I don't think she ever knew, and I became part of the fall out. I forgave her right before she died, but I don't know if she even understood.

Scars heal in time with prayer, and trusting God with it. The scars fade and become your badge of survival. Scars grow us, shape us, and healing begins. God uses my scars to be filled with His compassion and empathy for others who hurt. I am thankful, I am a survivor.