Monday, November 07, 2005

He Is My Righteousness

Today, I have a guest blogpost to share. My friend Susan Smith from Jerusalem sent this newletter via email and she has graciously agreed to allow me to share it here! It was originally written in May, 2005. The entire message is so powerful. One statement really spoke to my heart and ministered greatly towards me:

" I chose to forgive and prayed for God to touch their lives and help them to realize His love."

Wow. That is my prayer for several people in my life; including many who frequent this blog. I also apply it to myself! I pray that God forgives me when I fail to speak and/or write words that would touch others lives and help them to realize His love!

In a recent email, Susan had these words of wisdom, "How can one stay away from the words of Jesus? "

Yes, indeed. How can they?

Thank you, dear sister Susan, for being willing to share your newsletter at my blog. I thank God for you and the love you show!

God bless,



Most Christians have read Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” There are times we suffer great disappointment when we stumble or fail in our walk with the Lord. For me, I often discover the disappointment is because I expect more of myself than failure. I expect to be successful in the Christian life on earth. Because of pride, I tend to think there is something good or should I say “worthy” in my self. There is not. God does not expect us to be triumphant in our flesh. I can do nothing without Him. He is my righteousness. When I expect victory by my power, then I am setting myself up for defeat.

Last month I called to wish a family member in the State of Florida “happy birthday”. I had mailed a gift made here in Israel and a copy of my testimony on cassette tape. I was thanked immediately for the gift, but the testimony tape was not mentioned. There are times we are rejected, even by family members. Rejection hurts. During the conversation, I was asked if I was going to attend the birthday bash for my mother who was ninety-five years old on April 14. I replied that I was not invited.

After the phone conversation, I sat in stunned silence. I cried. My thoughts went like this: “This might be the last birthday my mother is alive. My immediate family has not been together in more than twenty years since my dad died in 1984. This could be the last opportunity to see my mother alive.” Why was I not invited to this party? Is my family ashamed of me? Are they embarrassed that the power of God by His Holy Spirit has transformed my life of homosexuality and drunkenness? Do they hate me? They showed me more “love” when I was wallowing in a pit of sin. They showed me more acts of kindness and love when I was an active lesbian and a drunk for many years. I was hurt and I was angry that they did not want me present for this festive occasion. I chose to forgive and prayed for God to touch their lives and help them to realize His love.

I thought the matter was over and done with until last week when I received a newspaper clipping about the party. There was a beautiful color picture of my mother taken at the Silver Oaks Clubhouse. There were balloons flying behind her, a bouquet of ninety-five red roses and a lovely framed letter from one daughter thanking my mother for a lifetime of gifts. Many friends and neighbors were invited including my mother’s pastor and his wife. One brother was quoted as saying, “Not only is this the celebration of Nana’s 95th birthday, but it is a family reunion as more family members are in attendance here tonight than have been together for years.”

The article also said: “Her youngest daughter, Susan Smith was unable to attend, as she works in Jerusalem, Israel where she has worked for three years, in ministry.” My thoughts were, “What a farce. What a lie. How could I attend if I was not invited?” I was angry again. The big “I” had taken control. I prayed and God ministered to my spirit. Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. Angry and jealous emotions are works of the flesh (see Galatians 5:20). I repented and asked God to bless my family. I began to realize, thanks to an fellow ministry member, that God had not denied me a blessing. He spared me heartache.

I recalled my only trip to my hometown in Florida since moving to Israel. I went to see my biological family during my first visit back in 2003. This was not easy. I realized how far apart our lives had grown. I could not identify nor agree with some of the statements I heard expressed by certain family members. Some words I heard spoken were ugly and unloving. God had taught me the power of thoughts and words via my mentor. I began to realize how much God has changed my life. I was thankful after that weekend in Zephyrhills to return to South Carolina to loved ones who are focused on God and what He is doing.

A.W. Tozer wrote in “The Radical Cross”: “The cross is a sword and often separates friends and divides households. The idea that Christ always brings peace and patches up differences is found nowhere in His teachings.” When you decide to follow Christ, this often means blood relatives will oppose you. Jesus tells us plainly that for some people it will be necessary to break family ties if you desire to follow Him (see LUK 12:51-53 & LUK 14:26-27). For the true disciple it is Christ before family, Christ before country and Christ before life itself according to Tozer. I agree.

I love my biological family dearly. Some I have not seen or spoken to in more than twenty years. One member receives this newsletter via email and three receive it by snail mail. God leads me to pray for them often and I cannot judge what is in their hearts. I choose not to look for evil or ulterior motives and I accept what the newspaper article said with purity of spirit. I choose to believe I was not invited, because they thought I was unable to attend. I pray God’s richest blessings on their lives this day, that they will be filled with His Spirit and anointed with His Power to be victorious over every sin in their lives. Our lives are meaningless without the full power of His abundant life, which must be renewed at His feet day by day.

Written by Susan Smith
May 20, 2005


Anna said...

Dear Susan -

Thank you for sharing your heart. I particularly appreciated the part where you said God had not denied you a blessing but protected you from hurt.

Sometimes we want so desperately for things to be fixed. Yet, relationships involve other people, who might not be willing. These relationships must be placed in God's hands, released and mourned so we can move forward in His plan.

On more than one occasion, I've found by doing that God has then been able to deal with them and bring healing. As long as I held onto self-pity, anger and resentment, I was hindering His work by my attitude.

Father, I just lift my sister up to You. Comfort her and replace the ache with Your joy. I pray for her loved ones and for reconciliation. Help her do stay in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


Christinewjc said...

Hi Anna,

You have shared some great truths in your comments:

"As long as I held onto self-pity, anger and resentment, I was hindering His work by my attitude."

Boy...can I relate to THAT! Fixing my attitude is a great way for me to "get out of His way" and not hinder His work!

It is then, as you said, "God has then been able to deal with them and bring healing."

Isn't that was Jesus is really all about? Healing and redemption? He's a great Savior and fantastic Lord!

I second your prayer for Susan and I think it is a prayer we can pray for all who have experienced a deep hurt like hers. I know that Susan's post definitely ministered to my heart.

Thanks for sharing Anna!

Love in Christ,

Susan Smith said...

Christine and I zeroed in on the same words from Anna. Anna said: "As long as I held onto self-pity, anger and resentment, I was hindering His work by my attitude." I was bitter, angry and full of self-pity for more than 20 years of my life, especially those years when I lived in the abominable pit of lesbianism and alcohol abuse. I hated myself and was very unhappy most of the time.

I was blind and deaf and could not see the Truth of the Cross of Christ. I had accepted only half of the salvation message that God forgives our sins... I was never discipled (until I met my mentor)and I never understood or accepted the other half: mainly "I have been crucified with Christ (see GAL 2:20). We accept this by faith, just as we do our forgiveness. Praise His Name. He is now the Light of my life.

The Word became flesh in Jesus (see JOH 1:14) and today the Word of God is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (see PSM 119:105)in this journey we call life on earth.

Thank you, Anna & Christine for your kind and encouraging words. Thoughts and words are powerful... they can display hate or love, anger or forgiveness and the choice is ours. Scripture tells us we have the power of death and life in our tongues and we do indeed eat the fruit of our words. God bless you abundantly this day, my sisters. Much love from Jerusalem. (ss)