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By now you are noticing things that you did not realize were taking place.  They can feel really harsh and ugly.  I am speaking from my own experience but not only from the first time I began to challenge myself in this way, but from this time too.  I tend to feel a little beat up.  My list of ways I struggle in this area grows long and especially when I am brave enough to write it down.  And especially when I begin to see how it is hurting, or neglecting the very people I am trying so hard to love, give to and take care of.  It can leave me feeling defeated.  It can leave me feeling like I will never be enough.

The flipside is God knows ours deep hearts.  He knows how much we love them.  He knows how much we want to come through for them.  He also knows how hard it is.  It may be just a Jennifer perspective but even though it is hard to have stuff like control, disrespect, withdrawing, manipulation, not trusting as something that I do or struggle with everyday, it feels like a rescue.  It feels like a breath of fresh air as well because I can not fight something that is taking me out everyday if I can not even see what it is.  If I feel distance in my marriage (I am not saying we are soley responsible for distance) I now have a gauge to check my own warfare.  I can begin to spot those areas where those things come in and steal from my marriage, my family and even from my relationship with God.  If something came and attacked your husband or your kids you would fight for them to the death!  It helps me to view these things as something trying to attack my family so I have to be on guard.

My tendency in this part of the challenge is to just kind of pullback and tone myself down.  I feel like I am too much yet not enough at the same time.  It takes practice but be present.  God’s grace is big enough to fill in where you are not yet strong.  Be willing to be vulnerable.  That is actually where God’s strength comes through instead of us trying to do it in our own strength or understanding.  It takes more strength to relinquish control, manipulation, or the need to know the outcome than it does to make life happen for yourself.

Remember your heart is good.  You have been made new in Christ.  His mercy is new every morning.  You are being transformed into His likeness.  Do not take on the identity of manipulator, controller, deciever and such.  Those are things you struggle with they are not who you really are.  They are not the truest things about you.  That is not who God says that you are.  He calls you His Daughter.  He calls you His Blessed Creation.  He calls you His Chosen Bride.  To believe anything less than what He says about you is a lie.

The other day I just got bombarded.  I was trying so hard to not withdraw but my heart was hurt so bad I almost couldn’t breathe.  I had to, in that moment go to God and just say….”Can I be Your Beloved Mess today?”  It felt good to just be a mess but still His.  We are His.  He calls us His own!  I was a mess the other day, but I was His mess and it was ok.

There is so much grace He is offering to us everyday.  We do not always receive it.  He loves us!  We are His!  Take a day to tend to your heart in all of this and remember how much He unconditionally loves you.

Bare with me while I run out the door.  I have not gotten to read through and check what I have written but I have to run to the school now something has come up.  I do not want to wait to post.  You are a brave and noble woman.  What you are doing right now is praiseworthy.  Tend to your heart today.