Purging Pride And Linkup is Back!

Reflections

As many of you know, my hubby Gary and I have wanted to get our house ready to put on the market for quite sometime (we’re empty-nesters who desperately need to downsize). So I pulled away from “everything”—including blogging—for the month of June to get our house in shape for that big day that I optimistically believed might be July 1st.

After moving basically a “mountain” of stuff and getting a LOT of things done and ready, I still feel like there is at least a portion of that mountain (molehill?) that needs to be dealt with and worked on before we place our house on the market. So we are readjusting to the more realistic date of March 1, 2017 and taking a more acceptable pace with the remaining unfinished projects until then.

But I have to say . . .

Who knew that when one worker bee (that would be me!) focuses on getting her actual homestead in shape that God would do major reorganizing, decluttering and purging in said “worker-bee’s” heart as well? 😉

There is so much that I could share about my experience and heart-change in this post, but it might overwhelm us both. So I think I’ll try to take a more slow, deliberate and thoughtful approach to it over the weeks ahead—unpacking in bite-sized measures.

One of the first things God brought to my attention was that I have let an area of conflict in my life (Not my marriage this time! Shoo!) take over and cloud much of my energy, focus and devotion. I’ve ruminated on this conflict for years. I’ve wrestled with God regarding this dilemma and often wondered why God was not bringing a swift and at least easier resolution to it on many occasions. Can you relate?

But God has used the slowness and the lack of movement in this relational impasse to gradually and penetratingly soften my hard heartpointing me ever so sweetly back to my own sinful contributions and wayward focus. #Godisgood

So that’s where I want to head in the weeks to come . . . looking at how to let the Lord soften a hard heart.

And if you come along with me, a soft heart can be yours as well through the Lord’s gentle touch.

And to me, a soft heart means a humble heart—something that I am much too far from most moments in my day.

In fact, the moment that I think I am getting close to a humble, soft heart is usually the moment that I drift and do something foolish and self-centered instead of God-focused. #weakerthanIrealize

I also want to say that much of how God spoke these truths to my heart has been through my study of 1st Samuel and especially through the example of king David’s life.

I am doing a Bible study of 1 Samuel with a private Facebook group that is well underway. But if you would like to friend me (click here) and request to be added to this group, you would be coming in at a great time, as the readings are near the beginning of David’s anointing and rise to king of Israel. 🙂 For more on how this group works, click here.

Besides . . .

So let me know if you’d like to be added to that group experience.

Realize that my “WORTHY” Bible studies that I do with private Facebook groups now will not be available for free in the years to come, as I will be selling them someday on Amazon. So now is the time to get a great freebie that God can use to soften your heart in your desperate and unfair situation and/or marriage conflicts.

 

What are some unexpected lessons you’ve learned during any times you’ve “pulled away” from normal life?

 

What do you think a “soft heart” looks like in the hard times of marriage?

 


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, Moments of Hope, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Join our newly renamed –  From Messes to Messages Linkup!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to “From Messes to Messages” or Messy Marriage as well. For linkup guidelines/button, click here.

Messy Marriage

  • Mary

    Welcome back! I love the new name of the linkup and of course I always love to learn from you. I am learning that I need to be more intentional in stepping back in order to listen to God and the desires He has for me. I have been feeling frustrated because I feel stuck and that God is not answering my prayers. The problem is I am not giving myself the time to listen to what He needs to tell me. It is hard for me to be still and listen but until I do, I am going to feel stuck.

    I can’t wait to hear more about the softening of your heart. I am glad you have given yourself grace in the process of getting your house ready. A month seems like a long time until you are in the midst of it and then you find out it’s not long at all. Missed you friend! Sending hugs your way!

    • Yes, Mary, I love that name too and feel like it opens up endless possibilities for what might be addressed by other bloggers like yourself, since it always bothered me that some thought Wedded Wed had to be about marriage alone.

      Thank you for your endless kindnesses to me, my friend! Your prayers for me this past month and the occasional checking in with me were like refreshing winds of grace from the Lord–blowing in from the east for a change! ha!

      I’m sorry that you feel like God is not answering your prayers as I read His handiwork in your heart all over your place. Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. But as you’ve said, it’s always good to slow our pace and truly stop to listen. Summers can be both good and bad on that account. I’ll pray that yours slows a bit.

      I’m excited to explore this new direction too, Mary. I feel like there’s a lot that even I don’t comprehend fully yet, but am glad to have you and so many other great friends along for the journey. Missed you right back!

  • Deborah Will

    Welcome back and glad you are taking it slow. I’m learning the more my heart it is tendered, the more it needs to be tendered, but it’s happening as I look back. I believe purging has helped me too.

    Your study sounds so good Beth. I’m so involved right now in one at church – The Best Yes, and one on-line The Husband Project and I do the First Five App devotion each day. I love Bible study, but having a hard time right now keeping up.

    Thank you for the link-up. I’ve missed you.

    • Thank you, Deborah. And I agree on the “tendered heart” being an ongoing process. And the purging really brought up a lot of grieving that I, as a new empty-nester, was not expecting. That was probably the first of the ways God softened my heart this past month.

      No worries on joining my group, my friend. It’s just open to anyone who is in need or looking for something along that line. I’ve just sooo enjoyed it, that I feel like I can’t keep a lid on that kind of experience. I’ve got to share it with others. Thanks for your kindness to me and I’ve missed you and all my other bloggy friends so much. It’s good to be back.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Oh, I have been looking forward to the day of your return, and you’re HERE! Yay!

    Interesting question you raise on a softened heart, because I don’t have one…and probably can’t afford one if I’m to keep going. To play the hand I have been dealt I have to be absolutely uncompromising with myself; allowing self-empathy weakens me, and makes the fight harder.

    But like charity, hardness begins at home, and it does leak out to those around me. Barbara compares me to a character in “Star Trek Into Darkness”, the second film in the rebooted series. Not Spock (drat) or even Kirk…but Khan, the brilliant and ruthless villain. She said that this similarity is why I am still alive (and my therapist has said something similar).

    This begs the question on whether survival is worthwhile, under the circumstances. That which helps me make it through the day also makes me absolutely unfit for almost every aspect of a normal life.

    I don’t have an answer, but there are still duties I can undertake, and perhaps the meaning lies in their faithful execution. It could be that simple.

    Sorry for the long comment, but this has been on my mind of late, and your post and questions were a serendipitous trigger.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/07/your-dying-spouse-177-is-god-really-good.html

    • Susan Shipe

      Andrew, you say this about not having a softened heart but then I SEE your soft heart as you love and care for the pups… I think you’re holding out on us!!!

      • If I may just interject here, Andrew, I so agree with Susan! As I follow along on your posts, I really see God working on your heart…and it encourages mine!

    • Me three. I’m with Susan and Pat on this one, pal …

    • I’m so glad that you are still here to walk with me and the other bloggers another day, Andrew. You better be careful! God may keep your heart ticking long past the rest of us! You are just tough enough to outlast the rest of us wimps, my friend!

      I would like to respectfully disagree and agree with the ladies below. I see your soft heart to be sure, but we ALL have hard hearts in comparison to the Lord. And when we see that, it is the best place we could be. So I don’t want to deny you that privilege and perspective. Sitting at the Lord’s feet, in need of His grace and softening, is the best posture you and I could ever take. Just don’t listen to the voice of Satan who would condemn you for your frailties. Remember, “There is now no condemnation in Christ for those who are in Christ Jesus …” Rom. 8:1.

      I agree that softness with those we love the most is often the hardest to find or in the case of Barbara to “see” in you. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, simply that she is too close to you and blinded by her own hardness to see past it. I know your blog writings to and about her will one day give her an amazing view of your heart–softness, hardness and humanness. It will be a blessing and a deep incision as well that will certainly end in knowing you better and more completely by the end of the matter than where you stand with her today.

      Keep on surviving and thriving in your writing and engagement with friends like me and these other fine ladies who have an objectivity and distance from your struggles. Praying you are encouraged and feel less defeated in this area moving forward. Hugs to you and glad to be back among friends like you, Andrew!

  • Glad you’re back. What a great lesson. I studied the life of David last summer and now we are going through 1 and 2 Samuel at church. What great lessons we can learn from them when we allow God to see our real heart! See you this week at my place!

    • Thanks so much, Jaime! It’s good to be back! Yes, I’ve studied David’s life in the past and always enjoy learning from his example. He is my favorite Bible character, next to Jesus. Thanks for coming by, linking up, hosting your linkups and being my encouraging friend!

  • Susan Shipe

    I don’t have air time for one more thing but I’m so glad to see you back. Refreshed and renewed…or at least revamped. Amen? Looking forward to your coming posts!

    • Understood and understand, Susan! There’s much that I want to do that is “good” but sometimes my life can NOT hold another “good” thing! If you know what I mean! Thanks for your kind words and I’m grateful to have your encouragement and support here, my friend!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth,
    A softened and humble heart in my marriage looks like listening to my husband when he speaks…and NOT interrupting (especially if we are disagreeing). I am so quick to jump in with a rebuttal when I hear something that doesn’t sit right with me – that would be selfish pride at work. Hearing someone out completely takes humility and discipline…something I’m working on. Glad to have you back!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • That’s a great example, Bev! I’m pondering those same things … what does softness, kindness, and humbleness look like in the day to day. I’m quick to jump in and react too. God is teaching me to stay “in my head” a bit more–praying silently as I consider what is going on for me, my husband or any others in our fears and anxieties. God’s grace is always so abundant when I do that. Thanks for joining the conversation and welcoming me back, dear friend! It’s good to be here!

  • Yay – you’re back!! I’m so very glad you’re back in the saddle, friend, and I’m really looking forward to the life lessons you’ll be sharing with us! We just finished a study of David at church, but you FB group looks like something my heart needs right now…
    Sending you tons of virtual {{hugs}} and doin’ the happy dance over here!!

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm, Pat! I know you’ve said that’s who you are and that’s why I highlight it–because I like it! I guess that means I like YOU! 😉 I’m glad you’re joining me on this journey. It’s always better to explore the hardness of heart and pursue God’s softness with friends who share the same desires.

      No pressure on my end for joining the group. It’s simply something I’m thoroughly enjoying and wanted it to be available to anyone who might be interested. Thanks for your sweet words and the cute dance steps you’re doing out there in cyberspace! Warms my heart, dear friend!

  • JosephPote

    “And to me, a soft heart means a humble heart…”
    So true! It is in humility that we learn to be thankful…which allows us to be tender.
    I’ve really been enjoying the 1 Samuel study, Beth! And, yes, King David provides so many examples of what a soft heart looks like…and King Saul provides so many negative examples of what a hard heart looks like.

    • Another great insight into softness of heart–pursuing gratitude to God! Thanks for that one, Joe! And I’m so glad you’ve been a part of the study. I always appreciate your added insights, since you are quite the Bible scholar. And yes, Saul has been a huge example of what not to do in contrast to David. I probably relate on many levels more to Saul than to David–at least in the way I’ve lived my life. But praying that David rubs off on me more and more! Thanks for joining the conversation and welcoming me back!

  • Liz

    Beautiful, thought provoking words. A softened heart for me is pliable, willing to be molded and shaped by my creator’s loving hands and sometimes even my husband’s. It means yielding to His (and his) ways and trusting that He knows best! I adore the title of your link up, btw!

    • Thank you, Liz. I like that. We do need to be pliable and flexible if we want to have soft hearts. And yes, I agree to that idea of being molded by the vehicle of our husbands’ insights and desires, even as it can be very humbling and painful in the process. It always helps to refine me more than I would have ever realized. Thanks for your encouragement, my friend! Glad to have you in the line up too!

  • Beth, I’m so glad you had a productive time and have given yourself time to finish. Isn’t it amazing how God uses all things to work in us? So glad to have you back, my friend.

    • Thanks so much, Debbie. I needed to pull away and do this huge task. I also needed to realize that I couldn’t accomplish this huge task–at least in the time frame I was giving myself. It’s all been so good and so hard and so eye-opening. I’m excited to share and even explore more of what God was and is teaching me moving forward. And always so good to be among friends like you again! Hugs

  • NanaHood

    Great thoughts and I so appreciate you sharing them with us!

    • Thanks so much, Teresa! I appreciate having you in the linkup. 🙂

  • pioneerpat1

    Welcome back. Great post. People need to soften their hearts. We live in a society that values “hard hearts” and if you don’t have one then it is a weakness and people try to exploit it.

    • Thanks, Patrick! Yes, we all need it and yet often don’t see the value in it at all. We do, indeed, live in a dog-eat-dog world, but then all we end up with is blood, fur and fluff flying furiously through the air! Did I just give our two candidates a new campaign slogan or what?? haha! Thanks for welcoming me back, my friend! Glad to have you in the line up!

  • Welcome back, Beth! Happy to hear the lessons He’s been teaching you 🙂 I completely agree, He likes to teach in more ways than we anticipated. Not always fun, but oh so wonderful!

    • Thank you, my “peas-in-a-pod” sister, Ngina! I’m so glad to be back and sharing where God is teaching me. Hugs to you!

  • Yay! You’re back! What joy to see your post pop up this morning! Seeing you here again has made my day!

    • Awww, aren’t you sweet to say, Linda! I’m excited to be back as well and can’t wait to unpack the lessons God is teaching me. I’ll have to head your way today and see what He’s been doing in your heart and life lately too. I’m certain He’s up to lots of good things for the both of us! Thanks for your warm welcome, dear one! Your face and sweet smile is something I always hope shows up here in this space!

  • Dear Beth

    Glad to see you writing here again 🙂

    It sounds like you made a lot of progress with the house. With a large task like that even just getting a good idea of /how/ large it is takes some time.

    Keeping a hard heart drives the love away and it’s like a millstone round my ankle. I can find myself “naturally” coasting into resentment and nursing grievances.

    Keeping a soft, humble heart is hard work but I am noticing I am happier and people around me are happier. I am also noticing lately it’s not such hard work, to nudge or lift myself out of a grump.

    I must say how much I am enjoying your 1 Samuel reading group.

    I have got a lot just out of reading the Bible every morning, and taking some time to think about the passage. Making the decision to find a personally relevant message has been a very powerful exercise, and has shown me how lazily I have been reading. I love your readings: they are very thorough, and always make me think again about the text. If/when they (this and your other courses) come out as (e) books, I shall definitely buy and read them.

    David

    • I’m glad to be back, David.

      Yes, I did make a lot of progress. And you are right about getting an idea of how large it is. It’s sort of like peeling an onion. You don’t know how many layers there are until you peel back layer by layer. 😉

      Yes, I can relate to that challenge of keeping my heart free from resentments as you might have already surmised from my posts! Thankfully, I’m making progress with my husband and with others too. But it truly is like a millstone around the ankle … or neck! And with shedding this resentment in another relationship in my life, I feel so very free. I’ve not felt this free in, well, ever!

      I’m so encouraged to hear how your heart is softening and that you see and feel the difference. And the fact that it is getting a bit easier and perhaps more your habit, is equally amazing and encouraging to hear!

      I’m also very glad that you are enjoying the study. I know that my study of David’s life in particular has been hugely instrumental in my newfound freedom. I’m only in the beginning chapters of 2 Samuel, so I feel like there are so many more “gems” to mine that will help me gain greater softness and perspective. Your description of how the study is helping you just truly thrills me, David. It’s exactly what i hope everyone gains from doing the study. You are certainly growing by leaps and bounds! Thanks so much for letting me know how positively it is impacting you, my friend! You made my day!

  • Yaaaaayyyyy! I’m so glad you are back! I have missed you! It was so great to see you link up with me at #MomentsofHope! I missed the link-up this week, but my hope is to join back in next week unless this month of travels and summer plans interrupts my plans 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading about all the gems you uncovered during your time of rest!!
    Hugs,
    Lori

    • I’m so glad to be back, Lori! I’ve missed you too and can’t wait to link up this week with your MomentsofHope. I look forward to you linking up again in the weeks to come. Seeing you in the linkup and comments is always a joy! Hugs to you!

  • BIG SMILE when I saw the email announcing your return to blogging! Coming to the party late (some big changes in my life and schedule this summer!), but wanted you to know how glad I am to hear your words today!

    • I’m glad you made it, Michele, even if it was a bit late! And thank you for your warm welcome back! I truly appreciate your support, kindness and encouragement. It means a lot to me!

  • Donna Reidland

    Beth, I’m so glad you’re back. I hope you had a restful time with the Lord and your family during this break!

    • I’m so glad to be back, Donna! I don’t know that I would say this past month was “restful” in a physical sense, but in a spiritual and emotional sense I gained a LOT of peace and feel very refreshed by the experience. Thanks for stopping by, linking up and encouraging me, my sweet friend!

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