JUST AS DIRTY AS I AM – Nobody gets in a bath unless they’re dirty!

God welcomes everyone. As we learn from him and about him, we can’t help but fall in love.

It was 1996, I’d recently gone through a divorce with a violent, drug addicted and schizophrenic man who had me living in fear for almost 17 years. Wanting to get closer to God in the cold Canberra winter of 1998, my sister took me to her little Pentecostal church held at a local school hall, as they didn’t yet have their own building. Looking around at people with seemingly perfect lives noticing they were nicely groomed wearing dressy but casual clothing, their kids were happy and all I saw was one big happy family. Panicked within (anxiety), in my mind there was no way I’d ever fit into this scene.  Within me there was a storm.  At the time I was angry, sad, unhappy, lonely and just sick of life.

Feeling uneasy about being there I confided about those feelings to my my younger sister who is a strong Christian.   She said to me, “Sandra, don’t think that these people here have got it all made, they’re just as dirty and dysfunctional as you are.  The only difference is that they admit it and want to change.  They acknowledge that God is the source of all life and that it’s God who cleanses them. You don’t get into a bath unless you’re dirty!”

Then she said something else, “God accepts you as you are so let him in and he does the changing from within.”   I thought, “what? Wait a minute he accepts me then he changes me?  Isn’t that a contradiction?”   Reading my bible, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jesus and his words.

I read somewhere that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. It’s not the sin God loves, its us. He wants our hearts and Jesus also came so that we may be reconciled to God, have life and have it abundantly.  So the change in me was that I was going to befriend God and learn the true meaning of life and love it?  That was exactly what happened. The changes were gradual but sure.

It’s June 2017, I’m still in the bath, I’m not perfect and I’m slowly transforming into what God wants for me and I have inner peace in my life.  We hurt and deal with our hurts in our own dysfunctional way that can make us really bitter, or we can be free from fears and hurts while keeping our peace.  Its Jesus who wants to heal our hearts with his perfect love that casts out all fear.  

If you’re worried about sin, God forgives us, no matter what we have done.  What the bible calls sin, is sin, everyone in the world falls short because God is holy.  Nobody is perfect and we can’t point the finger in judgement of anyone else.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son for who-so-ever believes in him shall have eternal life” John 3:16  OK it states who-so-ever.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done? That’s powerful.

If you believe that then pray this short prayer asking Jesus into your heart.

Jesus, I know you died for me and take me as I am.  I’m not perfect and will never be that in this world.  Thank you that you took my sins upon your body and they were crucified with you on the cross. I ask your forgiveness and for you to come into my heart and grant me your peace. Let me grow in your wisdom and in truth. Fill me with the Holy Spirit that I may have your helper so I can follow you. Amen

What can you do now?

If you prayed that prayer, find a local Christian church, be baptised, read your bible and pray regularly. Walk close to God and remember that nothing can separate you from His love. If you have done all that and are filled with Holy Spirit you have been born again as the bible requires you to do so you can enter heaven. Live in relationship with Jesus offering constant prayers for those you love and for your enemies.

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A Loving Relationship between a Man & Woman

As a mother the most difficult part of my job is watching my child suffer so she can learn her lesson. While I’m the one dishing out the discipline, (taking away privileges) I know the experience is making her wiser. She’s soon to become a teenager and currently shows a little interest in boys. But that’s all soon to change.

She’ll eventually grow up to make her own decisions and make her own mistakes, so I teach her the value of taking responsibility for her own actions. This teaching will come in handy when it comes to relationships. The person she settles with will come from a different family, have a different upbringing and have a different set of values, so she needs to be observant and remain alert when choosing.

I pray for her future husband and teach her to do the same. We’ve led by example and the legacy we leave behind with a loving relationship will hopefully have a positive impact. I’m hoping she’ll grow up to be the kind of woman that makes mindful decisions for her life and future.

I’m no relationship expert but I’m hoping my daughter will take hold of what has taken me a lifetime to learn.

  1. Treat each other with respect. Do not talk about your partner/spouse behind their back. Your loyalty is to each other. Don’t ignore the friendship.
  2. Your spouse/partner shouldn’t be totally dependent on you.  They need to have their own goals in life, a job, their own interests and enjoy living a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Nobody has the right to lay a finger on you.  Nor do you have the right to be violent with someone else.  There is no reason on earth why violence should be accepted in the home.  A lack of self esteem can trap women in violent controlling relationships. You are awesome. Get out as fast as you can and don’t go back. You might want to consider pressing charges should this happen to you. It might save another woman’s life.
  4. Feel secure in your relationship and know that you are loved.  You’re fine the way you are and the right person will accept you just as you are.
  5. You’re worthy of love and happiness. Love isn’t just about giving. It has to be reciprocated.
  6. Being together is fun.  Spending quality time together is even better and a must. Make time for each other, listen always and love with all your heart.
  7. Your opinion is to be respected.  You’re consulted on major decisions and what you have to say is valued.
  8. The foundation of your relationship is based on mutual love for one another not lust.
  9. Don’t ignore the sexual intimacy. Keep that healthy but sex must not be the foundation of your relationship.
  10. Any man who demands more than you’re willing to give to gratify his own sexual desire is not loving you more than his own need. Leave this guy fast! He’s using you like a sex toy. Don’t waste your time. Time is precious and you can’t get it back.
  11. Looking at members of the opposite sex appreciatively of their beauty is normal, but flirting is not acceptable.  This in my books is the same as window shopping.
  12. Choose the father of your children very carefully.  Marriage is a lifelong commitment. Work together to keep the relationship sweet. Get counselling if you need help as a couple. Pray for him. Trust your instinct.  It’s your call if you need to bail.

True Happiness & Real Love

sunrise-1226471_1280Around peak season at work I’m called to help out in other areas due to the demand of the job. This has challenged me to stretch and grow beyond what perceptions I had of my own capabilities. Although towards the down slide of this period, a close family member’s health concerns began putting a strain on my emotions.

What I found out about myself through all of it was that I am in control of my own happiness.  Instead of allowing a situation to control me affecting my work, I quickly faced realities, said a quick prayer permitting myself to feel and to heal.

As a result, I realised that I’m truly happy, content and that God has it. We can’t control everything.  But we knock ourselves about trying!

Most people go to work every day, do their tasks and go home to their private lives not thinking about work until they’re on the way to their jobs again.  Me, I’m always on it taking notes writing ideas down that whirr around in my head of things that I hear, read, see on TV or hear on the radio. It’s so much fun that I’m growing. I love my job.

At home life is good. My husband and I have a happy marriage, kids and a lovely home.   We’re all doing things we enjoy doing and are living a life that we enjoy living.  But this isn’t the real source of my happiness.

I’ve discovered that inner peace & joy comes from within. It oozes out from the core of my being. I can’t fill my heart with temporary things that fade, nor can I lie to myself about them.  Once those things are gone, I’ll be left feeling empty inside.  So instead I’ve opted to fill my heart with love and truth.  They’re the eternal things that will stand long after I’m gone from this world leaving a legacy of peace, love, hope and truth for others who remain.

Love in the purest sense of the word is explained well in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

This verse reflects God’s love for you!  GOD IS LOVE. This is the truth. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32.

  1. He is patient
  2. He is kind
  3. He does not envy
  4. He does not boast
  5. He is not proud
  6. He will not dishonour others
  7. He is not self seeking
  8. He is not easily angered
  9. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
  10. He always protects
  11. He always trusts
  12. He always hopes
  13. He always perseveres.

Nothing else but God can fill the void.  Not your spouse, partner, parents, friends, your job or the material possessions you own can take the place of God.  Make him first in your life and your joy will be complete.

By Sandra Ciminelli.

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