Random Facts About Me by Cindy Hester

Okay ladies and gentlemen, if you are looking for a serious writing for today’s blog, you are going to be sorely disappointed. This is going to be random facts about me you may or may not know and may or may not care about! You see, I think we so often get caught up in the seriousness of life and the “perfect” personna we try to present to the outside world, we fail to be real. Quite honestly, since all of the hoopla surrounding the election and General Petraeus’s indescretions, I needed a break from serious. So here goes…
 
I HATED school as a child. For the first four years, Mom literally had to drag me kicking and screaming to class. Now, this is not something I am particularly proud of, but I was a worrier. It was so bad that I developed a double ulcer at the age of seven! What does one have to worry about when he or she is seven years old and has a loving family and good life? Who knows, but it seems to come quite naturally for me. I am learning, however, that worrying is a waste of time, and 99% of what we worry about never even takes place.
 
 
 When I was four, I  buried my brand-new favorite pair of paten leather Easter shoes in the garden because I thought I could grow more shoes just like them. Unfortunately, the dog dug them up never to be seen again. I learned it is not smart to plant shoes.
 
 
 
At the age of eight my goal was to grow up to be the drummer in a band…not a high school band…a rock band. Okay, maybe not a hard rock band. I wanted to be like Karen Carpenter, the drummer for the Carpenters, so Santa brought me a drum set complete with Karen and all of her brothers’ pictures on the bass drum. (I was soooo cool!) I learned that while Karen was a talented musician who paved the way for future female drummers, a set of drums in the hands of an eight year old girl mainly serves to irritate anyone within hearing range.
 
 
 
 
My favorite toy as a little girl was a toy truck (my grandpa Hood really, really wanted a grandson 🙂 I learned that girls could drive a truck as well as boys!
 
 
 
 


 In my early twenties I turned down the offer to go with a friend to hear an upcoming singer/songwriter who had a few good songs being played on a local radio station. He was going to be playing at a small venue near Tyler, Texas where I lived at the time. I had no idea who this guy was, and I declined because I wanted to just go home from work and crash on the couch. My friend came to work the next day with a signed Polaroid picture of her and this handsome new singer. His name? George Strait. I learned it is quite possible to kick yourself in the rear end.
 
 
 

 
 In my mid-thirties my hair started turning this strange white color, so I decided to add blonde highlights to my naturally dark hair in order to cover the gray. Over time my hair became more and more blonde until there was no brunette left. Several years later having moved to a place where no one had known me as a brunette, I decided to go back to dark hair. I cannot tell you how many people told me how I needed to go back to my “natural” blonde color. I learned that people’s view of what is “natural” and “real” is often skewed.
 
 
 
 
 

 

In my late 30’s I met this guy. We watched each other from afar for over three years until we finally got up the courage to talk to each other instead of being together in a crowd and talking around each other. This was a pretty special guy, and he made me laugh.We genuinely enjoyed being together, and we soon learned what had begun as friendship had grown into love. I learned to let go, to risk, and to love again – and I married him!

 
 
 
In my late forties I became a grandmother for the very first time. I was not prepared for the overwhelming emotion accompanying this turn of events. I was so in love with this little boy who suddenly appeared in our lives taking our hearts hostage. A couple of years later, a sweet little granddaughter arrived,and the love just grew. This past year another precious little man joined us bringing further joy and love to our growing family of grandbabies. I learned there is no control over how much love one’s heart feels for grandbabies. It is a wonderfully uncontrollable love that knows no bounds.
 
 
 
 In my early fifties, I watched my Dad, the spiritual, emotional leader of my extended family fight a strong battle against cancer. Along with my brother and sisters, I had the honor of helping to take care of Dad and Mom’s needs after they spent a lifetime of loving and taking care of ours. I was able to say goodbye to him before he went home to be with the Lord. I witnessed and experienced God’s grace during the time surrounding the loss of my Dad, then I watched God strengthen and enable my Mom to move forward and bravely face a new life on her own. I watched her faith carry her with peace and joy despite her grief. I learned that even during pain and hardship, life is rich, and full, and good.
 
 
 
Okay, so I did get a little serious, but that is really okay. Serious, funny, weird, difficult, it is all part of being honest and real. I’ve learned it’s all part of life. A really, really good life. I’m looking forward to see what I do and what I learn in the years ahead.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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The Way of Love by Cindy Hester

 
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Longevity, stability, heritage. Each of these words come to mind whenever I think of the opening weekend of deer season at the farm. Over the years it has become a time-honored tradition for all of the Hood family to make the pilgrimage back to their roots at the farm for a time of fellowship, laughter, and deer hunting. The anticipation of cool evenings spent telling stories around the campfire is rivaled by only two other happenings – getting that big buck and eating breakfast at Jerry’s restaurant in Onalaska, Texas.
 
 
 

 
Jerry’s is a family-owned business that serves, among other foods, a good country breakfast. It is a popular spot with many hunters in East Texas, but it has become more than just a spot for our family…it is a memory. Each year Dad met us out at the farm on opening morning about the time the guys came in from the morning hunt. He would get the campfire started and visit until we heard the familiar sound of four wheelers coming up the hill carrying hungry hunters, and sometimes a deer or two. Once the deer were skinned and on ice, the guys cleaned up and prepared for the next highlight of the weekend, breakfast at Jerry’s.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
No matter how many tables have to be joined, no matter how chaotic our ordering process becomes, and no matter how many excited children are running around pumped up on coffee, cream, and sugar, the waitresses always treat us with kindness and patience. The food is always served up hot and fresh, and the coffee cups stay full. The experience, however, goes far beyond the performance of waitstaff and the flavor of the food.

The experience is in the memories of togetherness and laughter from days gone by. It is in the feeling the heart remembers when seeing the chair in a spot occupied just a couple of years ago by a spirit that lives long past the physical body where it once was housed. It is in the memory of a conversation, a joke, a smile. It is the sheer continuity of family, of meeting once again as a cohesive unit joined not only by blood, but by love. It is the strength that comes from the past, and the hope that shines for the future.


 

 
 

 
 
 

“Dear Lord, thank You for traditions that bring us together year after year to renew and build upon family relationships that mean so much. Thank You for my family and for the joy they bring to my life. God, please protect this and so many other families who understand this precious and valuable relationship. Please also be with those who have been divided for one reason or another. Shower them with Your love and peace, and if possible, let them find one another once again. Be with those who are in situations where it is best to go their separate ways. Fill their lives with the peace that only You can bring. Help us all to trust You for our family’s future, and may we never allow anything to destroy the love and respect we share. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Halloween/Fall Festival Fun Memories by Cindy Hester

Growing up I always loved Halloween – not because it was supposedly the “devil’s holiday” (I didn’t even know there was a “devil’s holiday!”) I loved it because it gave me the chance to dress up as something fun and mystical. I also loved the fact that Halloween signaled the beginning of fall, and  two of my other favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, were not far behind. (Oh who am I kidding? I love all of the holidays.)

We always had so much fun at the school carnivals. I especially loved dressing up and getting to be a part of the costume parade in town. All of the students would start at the elementary school and march throughout the streets waving and having a blast showing off our costumes. We always ended back at the school for the carnival where there were all kinds of games and booths, and even a spook house. I can close my eyes and smell the frito pie, corn dogs and hot dogs cooking in the old school cafeteria, with a whiff of caramel apples and cotton candy every now and then. I can hear and feel  my breath against the plastic casper the ghost mask that fit snugly against my face with a rubber band around the back holding it in place. It was pure, innocent fun.

 



My sister, Melody, and friends in front of the old elementary school
cafeteria where those delicious frito pies, hot dogs and corn dogs
were served.
Dad and Mom always made the holiday fun for us kids. We usually would get creative and make our costumes since there was no such thing as Party City or even Wal Mart in those days. About the only place to purchase Halloween costumes was Perry Brothers, a local five and dime store. Of course no one wanted to look like everyone else, so we would usually try to come up with something on our own.

 




I must have been dressed as Madea (way ahead of my time, huh?!),
and I don’t think Mary wanted to stand still for the picture!

I remember one year all of the kids from church went out to the farm for a hay ride as part of our Fall Festival. There were kids and adults enjoying themselves as if they were kids once again. I remember the moon was full like it has been the past few days around here, so it was sort of bright even for night time. Dad turned off the tractor lights as he drove down the dirt road in the woods that led back to the creek. We were singing and having the best time, until someone jumped out of the woods scaring the living daylights out of us. That was the highlight of the evening.
Then there were the times our house got wrapped by some of the teenagers at church. Mom heard them moving around outside my bedroom window, so Dad thought it would be fun to scare them. I remember crouching down beside the bed giggling, waiting for them to come back closer to my window. At the time we had those windows that when opened could be clicked into place at several different heights. When opened quickly, they sounded like an automatic gun going off. Dad waited until they got to the chair right next to the window, then he flung it open as fast as he could. I have never seen kids scatter so fast in all my life. We all sat there rolling on the floor laughing while Dad ran out to tell them all was okay.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that God gives us laughter and fun out of even those things man tries to make into something bad. And isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to dress up in a costume to be a different, new creation. All we have to do is trust in God’s precious Son, Jesus, who died to give us an abundant, joyful life. He promises to make a new creation from our old despondent, worn out, hopeless selves.



Thank You, Lord, that You chose to provide us with new life instead of tricking us like old Satan tries to do. Thank You that You give joy unspeakable to those who simply accept You and who build a relationship with you. Thank You that You enjoy seeing Your children have fun and be playful. Help us to be mindful to share Your love this Halloween season, and please keep our children safe. Please help us to create wonderful, happy, innocent memories for them to look back on.


“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Anger

by Cindy Hester
 
 
Antagonized by circumstance
Negated feelings at a glance
Goaded into fits of rage
Empty hearts so hard to gauge
Rapacious words time won’t assuage
 
 
Dear Lord, please guard us against unrighteous anger. Help us be more like You, and let grace and compassion reign in our hearts. Amen

Psalm 145: 8-9 “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (NIV

A Letter to Dad by Cindy Hester

Today is one of those sentimental, melancholy days, so please indulge me in sharing a letter I had the priviledge of writing to my Dad whenever he was going away to a special retreat. Each of us kids wrote a letter and sent with the person who would be attending with him. At some point during the week, the letters would be presented as a surprise for Dad to read.

Unfortunately, he did not get to go to the first retreat due to the fact that he had to go to Dallas for prostate cancer surgery. However, Mom gave him the letters to read on the way back home from his hospital stay. I remember her saying how touched he was by them all. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to tell him these things while I had the chance. So often we take for granted that the people closest to us automatically know the deepest feelings in our heart.

This writing is long, but it is one of my favorites because it reveals so much about the man who was my Dad. As you can probably tell, I am missing him a little today. Thank you for letting me share. I love you Dad. You will forever be with us, because the heart remembers.

 
 
2009 


Dear Dad,

When Mom told me about the opportunity to write this letter, I’ll have to admit I was at a loss. It was not the lack of examples that had me stumped, it was how to put all of that information into one little letter. My mind began wandering back over the years, and I want to share just a little of that journey with you (and believe me, my journey covers a longer span than it used to!) By the end of the trip you will have discovered how my memories bear witness to how you have seasoned my life with the love, faith, strength, hope and laughter. My hope is that you will understand why I can say “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” (Philippians 1:3).

 

My earliest memories take me back to our house on the hill. There was the time you had brought a calf and put him in a pen out behind the house. I remember you playfully picking me up and putting me in the feed trough. I started crying because I thought I was going to be the calf’s dinner. You laughed, and held me close, all the while explaining that cows don’t like people food. This taught me trust.


I also see your company truck turning off of 350 North into what seemed like the longest driveway to our house. Every day I knew you would go to work to provide us with a home, food and clothes. I also remember standing down at the bottom of the hill watching you chop wood in the evenings after you got home from work, or me playing in the yard watching you plow a garden to grow fresh vegetables to have in the freezer, or climbing up in the old barn at the farm watching through the gaps in the logs while you helped Paw Paw Hood mark and brand cattle. I see you taking me with you on a Saturday afternoon to the auction barn to watch the cattle being run through and auctioned off for sale. This taught me the value of hard work, enjoying the labor of your hands, and an appreciation for the practical way in which God provides for this world’s physical needs.

I remember when you felt God’s call to go full time in the ministry and to organize the church at Chesswood. I remember the Sunday sermons you preached to the small congregation in the old Dairy Treat and how you followed the vision God had placed in your heart. I watch as that vision unfolded and the first sanctuary was built. I remember the fun and joy we all had in that little building. I see the Sunday after church when at 5 years of age you took me back into a quiet place and sat me in your lap sharing with me the plan of salvation. I remember the tears that fell from my eyes as you prayed, conviction on my young heart, but not quite understanding what it all meant. Fast forward to three years later when at the end of a sermon Mrs. Delores Adams was leading the invitation singing “Just as I Am” and I fully understood what it meant to be a sinner, and how I wanted Christ’s forgiveness. Even more, even at that young age, I remember wanted to know Jesus like you and Mom did. I remember the baptism at the lake, watching you wade out cautiously testing the water with a stick. I remember the words you spoke, and people coming around to shake my hand and hug my neck as I stood there dripping wet with a sense of unexplainable joy. I remember the voices singing in harmony “Shall We Gather at the River” with their voices being the only musical instruments around. This taught me faith and brought me into the realization of a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus. This has proven to be the most priceless lesson of all.


I remember Sunday mornings before Sunday school and church going to the local radio station, watching and listening when it was your week to present Sunday morning radio devotional. Mrs. Peggy Haley sat there drinking her coffee in her bath robe and house shoes in the KETX sound room. There she was, hair all up in rollers introducing you after she completed the local funeral announcements for the week. (Thank heavens it was radio and not TV, but I loved it, and I loved her.) We tagged along with you on visits to hospitals and nursing homes, rode with you to pick up children and adults who had no other way to church and attended more funerals than I can count. This taught me the value of compassion, selflessness and the joy and blessings to be had from sharing Christ’s touch to those who need it most.


I watched you care for my grandparents when it wasn’t convenient or easy. I remember how you let me cry, and I remember the words of comfort and wisdom you gave while sitting on the front porch at the old place the night after Paw Paw passed away. I saw you weep at my grandparents’ funerals, and I witnessed your commitment to Maw Maw Hood after Paw Paw was gone. I saw the mutual love and respect between you and your in-laws, and most importantly I saw the undeniable love and respect you showed to Mom. This taught me the value of marriage, family and family relationships.


I saw the times we went and stood in line outside of city hall and the post office in front of the “Uncle Sam wants You” poster waiting for your turn to vote. We would then go to the courthouse square to gather with friends of the community to watch as election results came in and were posted with chalk on a blackboard at the top of the stairs for all to see. I thought of your routine of getting up early to read the Bible, have quiet time and pray. Next came breakfast, coffee and time with the Houston Chronicle. I listened as you discussed current events of the day. As a result I gained an understanding that world and political events were important, and I had a responsibility to participate in community and government decisions. I heard stories of your time in the army, and saw pictures of the time you were overseas at the end of the Korean conflict. This taught me not only the importance praying for my country, I also gained a sense of civic responsibility, patriotism and a love for my country.


I saw visions of vacations you provided for our family over the years. The trips to Arkansas – especially sweet is the memory of taking Maw Maw Hood, Maw Maw and Paw Paw Moore out of the state of Texas to see the mountains. I remembered the trip where we went to seven different states camping out in the popup camper, Melody and me getting mad at Mary for almost overdosing on chocolate Ex Lax the night before we were supposed to leave town, the huge mosquitoes in Louisiana, getting lost in the military cemetery in Mississippi and having to drive after dark without brake lights on the trailer, having a flat somewhere in Alabama or Georgia, going to the little white country church on Sunday night in Tennessee, going to Clingman’s dome, Rock City and all of the fun we had staying in the KOA campgrounds, and most recently our family trips to New Braunfels. Of course it would be wrong for me to leave out the trip to Biloxi, Mississippi when we stopped off in New Orleans for the night with Sherry Lynn, Melody, John and Little Mary. We got swept up in a crowd of people ending up on Bourbon Street after dark! (From this I learned there must be a literal hell and some people were definitely in danger of going there!) In all seriousness, these trips taught me the importance of having fun and the value of taking time out to slow down, enjoy life and make memories with your children. They also instilled a sense of adventure and a desire to learn of people and places outside my immediate community.

Then there was Camp Gary where Bro. Frank was always the fun preacher for the kids to hang around, or Bible School where you would give the talks every morning after we marched in and said the pledges to the flags and the Bible. You were always been loved by children of all ages. There was always humor, fun and laughter whenever you were involved in our events. This taught me the value of staying young at heart no matter what number your age says you are.



Oh yeah, there was also the time you were trying to talk privately at the house with Bro. Irving about a matter, and Aunt Britty kept trying to interrupt to get you to look at the fish she had caught that day. Being the gentle soul that she was (ahem!), she finally barged right into the living room where the two of you sat talking quietly. She blurted out something to the effect that you had better come out and see her fish so she get them cleaned before dark. Now, Mom had already explained nicely to her that you were counseling someone privately to no avail! To top it all off, she had her little Chihuahua dog traipsing behind her in the house (another boundary trampled over!) I will never forget as long as I live, you looked up at her and told her in no uncertain terms that if she didn’t take her dog and her bowl of fish back outside until you were done, she would find that bowl of fish dumped on top of her head! Maybe it is for the best, but I can’t remember what you said would happen to the dog. At any rate, this event taught me the importance of setting boundaries and the value of righteous anger- neither of which set in with me until much, much later in life!


Then there are the painful memories I wish I could retract. The times I hurt or embarrassed you…the times when you must have wondered if I would ever amount to anything worthwhile…the times that I did not live up to my potential…the many, many times you loved me unconditionally when I was so unlovable. I remember the day you had the courage to send me before a judge in order for me to learn an extremely valuable lesson. I can see you and Mom standing firmly beside me, supporting me even though you could not support the mistake I had made. I feel the deep pain you must have felt, and yet you continued to love and believe in me. This taught me the value of tough love, accountability and owning my mistakes.


I remember the sacrifice you made so that I could be at Mary’s wedding…how you drove to Memorial Southwest Hospital to pick me up when Little John had meningitis the day of the wedding and drove me back to the hospital late that same night. I think of the wisdom and discretion you used when I was attempting to make important and life-changing decisions during my separation and divorce. I will always appreciate the support you provided as my Dad during an overwhelming, excruciatingly painful time in my life. I think of the way you continued to pray for John, and to remain as impartial as possible in order to allow me to come to my own decisions in my own time. I see the way you encouraged me to be as independent as possible while building a new life for me and the kids in Livingston after the divorce. I see the countless hours spent praying for me, Rachel, John and Sam. This taught me to never give up praying for and loving my children whatever their circumstances. You also helped me to develop self-reliance, strength of character and a strong sense of who I am as a woman in Christ.


I see the loving way you accepted Charlie, and I see the day you joined Charlie and I in marriage. I see the love you have shown to him and to Ryan and Christa. I see your constant example of love, humility, integrity acceptance and wisdom. I see how you have impacted Charlie in his spiritual growth and his growth as a husband and a father. I see the humor and love you brought to family gatherings. I see the ageless, timeless spirit in which you viewed life-a spirit that allows you to relate to people of all ages, races, genders and positions in life. I see the value you placed on education and on encouraging your children to open their hearts and minds and continue a willingness to learn and grow personally, professionally and spiritually.




Now you can better understand my dilemma at the beginning of this letter. There is so much more I could say, but in the interest of time I will have to close. I guess in writing this I am humbled by remembering how blessed I am to have a father that I respect and admire, a father whose image I may never even come close to living up to. I guess it is because you so naturally reflect the image of your Father.


With much love and respect,

Cindy

A Prayer for America by Cindy Hester

 
 
Dear heavenly Father, we all need you so,
Without you, dear Lord, our fears seem to grow.
I cannot know just what is to be,
Your word gives me promise, You’ll take care of me.
When looking around at our current state,
It seems there’s such anger, such pain, and such hate.
It’s time we remember what made us so strong,
To honor the country to which we belong.
United we stand, divided we fall,
It is time that we hasten to answer Your call.
A call to Your children to hear and obey,
So far from Your calling we seem to have strayed.
Freedom and liberty can only exist
In responsible hearts and released, opened fists.
Without respect, love, pride, and justice for all,
Self-interests could cause our great country to fall.
It’s time we remember as Your children so blessed,
We must seek Your guidance to pass through this test.
Only You have the answers for the problems we face,
May we fall on our knees and seek Your sweet grace.

“But if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14



Trusting Faith

 Trusting Faith
by Cindy Hester

 
 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
 
 
I angrily pushed the end button on my phone conversation. How is it that after all these years I can still allow myself to feel so vulnerable, lost, and afraid? I thought I had come so far, but I blew it, Lord. The discussion was a valid one, but neither of us could see each other’s point of view because of emotional entanglements from the past. Arguments based on simple explanation somehow took a wrong turn toward the appearance of malice.   

I jutted out my jaw taking on a tough stance in an attempt to appear strong. Inside I was crumbling. Tough love has never been my strong point, and being the Omnipotent Being He is, God has presented me numerous occasions to work on this issue. In an attempt to do better, I try to get tough…set boundaries…draw lines in the sand. Then comes the frustration as I begin questioning myself. Is this the right thing to do as a Mom? Is this the right thing to do as a Christian? Is this the right thing to do as a wife? The scenarios are endless, and the arguments complex. The bottom line is that boundaries and consequences are a necessary part of life. I do no one justice by holding back due to fear. However, how my mind and heart often accept this fact in two completely different ways.

My purpose in giving you this very personal revelation is to share something that reminded me how truly personal our God is. I want to encourage you with whatever issues you might be facing today by reminding you that He understands and cares about all details of our lives…even the ugly ones. You see, I struggled with this conversation and its results for hours into the night. In confusion, I rehearsed every word uttered and contemplated every possible consequence of those words. I wasted so much time fretting and worrying instead of going to the Source who provides peace and answers.

This morning, I awoke to read my morning devotional. I opened my Kindle reader to Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Calling: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional. God has used this series of books to greatly impact my life. I was introduced to Sarah Young’s writing at the time my Dad passed away. Someone had given Dad her first devotional book, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, as a gift. I heard him refer to it quite a lot during his battle with cancer. His life was touched daily in a personal way through the writings shared on each page. As I said earlier, her books have also affected my life, but today’s particular reading hit me square between the eyes.

“Beware of seeing yourself through other people’s eyes. There are several dangers to this practice. First of all, it is nearly impossible to discern what others actually think of you. Moreover, their views of you are variable: subject to each viewer’s spiritual, emotional, and physical condition. The major problem with letting others define you is that it borders on idolatry. Your concern to please others dampens your desire to please Me, your Creator.

It is much more real to see yourself through My eyes. My gaze upon you is steady and sure, untainted by sin. Through My eyes you can see yourself as one who is deeply, eternally loved. Rest in My loving gaze, and you will receive deep Peace. Respond to My loving Presence by worshiping Me in spirit and in truth.” Young, Sarah (2010-03-02). Jesus Calling: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional (Kindle Locations 3394-3400). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

A sense of peace and repentance surged through my heart as I realized how many of my decisions are based on an attempt to please other instead of seeking how God would have me handle the situation. I slowly began opening my tightly clenched fists relaxing in trust of His ability to work in the circumstance instead of my running around trying to defend and correct all things. My heart was confirmed that it is not only okay, but necessary to respect your boundaries and to expect others to do the same. The desire to please and be liked by all can be a hindrance to the work God is attempting to accomplish in their lives. God help me to be strong in You, not in others or my own efforts.

“Dear Lord, thank You that You know me so well, and that You care about the tiniest details of my life. Help me to entrust You with my life and the lives of all those surrounding me for whom I care so deeply. Help me to stand strong on those things You would have me stand for, and give me wisdom to know when to let go. You know my struggles, my failures, and my heart. Thank You for the promise You are always there waiting for me to run to You at any time. Once there, help me to stay close by Your side. Lord, it is so easy to wander. Thank You that You are ever watching and seeking us out with Your love. In Jesus precious name, Amen.”