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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Howdy! That's how we say hello in the desert Southwest ... well, not really ...but I wish we did, because I like it.

Anyway, what I mean to say is welcome to those of you who have found your way to my blog after reading my devotion about Soil and Dirt.

If you live in a part of the country where you have rich soil, I'm jealous for your delicious tomatoes and raspberries. We have good oranges here and any day now the trees will start to blossom and fill our streets with the most incredible fragrance ever. But I'd trade my orange tree for your raspberry bush any day of the week.

As I was reflecting about my heart and whether it's got more soil or hard dirt, I think it's half and half. Sometimes I find my heart very hard. Normally it's after I've been hurt by someone. It's like all the softness evaporates and all that is left is hard, crusty dirt.

When that happens, like it did earlier today, I find myself not really caring about the condition of my heart. It doesn't last for long, but it happens. I'm hurt. I'm mad. I'm offended. And I don't feel like doing anything about it except mulling over what happened and how wronged I am.

Even knowing I was going to write this post didn't help in that moment earlier today. I thought about all the things I would tell someone else. You know, all the RIGHT things that a Christian woman should say ... and believe. And still my heart felt hard. I wasn't ready to forgive the offense, and anyway, I hadn't received an apology.

The bottom line is I knew I needed to forgive the offence, but I didn't FEEL like doing it. Instead of waiting for the feelings to come (or the apology which never did) I had to make a choice. I had to ask God for His help to soften my heart, because I couldn't do it on my own. I asked God to help me feel like forgiving.

There was no immediate change of heart, but it was like the rising of the sun. It happened gradually and I was able to forgive.

As we at Proverbs 31 minister to women around the world, we find that many have been hurt deeply, offended greatly and offered no apology. I believe there are many reading this blog today who would say that has happened to them.

I know there are no easy answers. And it doesn't always help for someone to say the right words, because you already know them. So today, if that is you, I pray for God to soften your heart, just like the gentle rising of the sun. Perhaps it will happen so quietly that you won't notice it happening until you don't feel quite so hard and brittle.

Then, as God does His miraculous work, I pray you experience a softened heart to receive all that God longs to give you.

Until then, know that you have sisters in Christ who will pray for you, stand in the gap when you don't have the energy to do so yourself, and love you with the love of Christ.

Thank you for reading my blog today. If I can pray for you, please leave a comment. You can do so anonymously, God knows.

In His Love,


Kimberly said...

God is so good! Just last night I was asking God to soften my hard heart and help me to forgive. I have been joyless for a long time and I want to move on! Please pray that I would surrender expectations and walk toward freedom in Christ. As I read in Sylvia Gunter Prayer Portions last night, "My pride, stiff neck and hard heart will keep me from God's love and His intimate counsel. I want to be sensitive to His gentlest whisper." Thank you for praying for me and thank you so much for sharing.

Ava said...

I was so amazed when I opened and read your devotional for today. I feel as if God is speaking directly to me through your words. As you said in your blog, my heart has been hardened by hurt for many years now, and it has cost everyone in my family dearly. I have been estranged from my Mother, my brother and his family, and my brother in law for this very reason. The problem was my unforgiveness of my Mother, and that has spread to me not being able to participate in holidays and other events with my family.

As I read Kimberly's blog, I also knew that my hard heart and stiff neck have prevented me from responding to the olive branchs they have extended to me in the last couple of months.

Please pray for me that I will be able to listen again for God's quiet voice and do his will, not mine. I know then that I will be able to open my heart and live the way God wants me to.

Thank you for your work and how it touched my life today. And thank you for this blog where I have been able to pour my heart out, and read how others are struggling too.

Andrea said...

Hi Glynnis! Thank you so much for your thoughts in today's devotional. It truly was just what I needed to hear, even though I didn't realize it at the time.

If you don't mind, I would like you to pray for me. I know my heart has been hardened, especially during the last few months. My husband has been applying for teaching jobs at universities all over the country. After about forty applications, only one college has shown any real interest, and I'm afraid even that's about to fall by the wayside. I currently teach kindergarten in a town close to where we live, but most of my time and energy recently has been toward helping him with his dissertation and job applications. The thought that all of the work we've done--that God would want us to still stay here after we've done so much to find a job and start our "next chapter"--has left me very bitter. I know that I've hardened my heart against God, against His will, against what I know is best. Deep down, I realize that my husband will get the job God wants him to have, when God wants him to have it...and I know we'll be fine until then. I have my job and my husband can find work in the meantime. Unfortunately, I still feel frustrated (and even angry) that our hard work has not "paid off" the way I feel it should. Thank you so much for your prayers, and for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Please pray for me that I will have a soft heart today no matter what the circumstances are. I have been there i.e. the hard dirt place and I think it's time for me to leave that place and come to a place where only God can carry me.

Thank you for your prayers.

Jessica said...

I found your blog from the Daily Devotional and wanted to say hello! I've read all of your posts on the first page of your blog and your words seem to be my exact thoughts. (From technology to clutter) :-D

Have a GREAT Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful discovery to read today. An ongoing situation for months has me throwing my hands up to ask God to change me so I can move on. My friend may never believe I didn't say what she thought I said. And our friendship may have been built on sandy ground-- I don't know exactly. But I do know I cannot continue letting this eat me up inside. I've talked the talk and tried to be strong but it still hurts. Abba Father, please help me to repair what can be repaired, leave what must be left and to discern the difference between the two.

Thank you for your prayers Glynnis.

ara marie said...

Glynnis, I actually struggled with this very matter for some time a few years ago.

The verses that spoke about forgiveness is what I used to remind myself that God does not want me to feel this way about this person. I continue to pray and work on loving this person, but God has softened my heart toward them.

I love your honest and wise words.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Please pray for me as I have been hurt and those involved have not apologized. In fact one of these persons refuses to recognize the damage caused in this situation.
Please pray for me as I am struggling emotionally in this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Glynnis for the beautiful message. I have had many hurts over the years and know I too hardened my heart during those times. I am a woman who also desires for God to continue to soften my heart and break up the stony ground.

momsg517 said...

I am thankful for this blog. I discovered recently that I have a hard heart. The chastisement is painful... I don't even know how it happened, I just know I need get it right because I want God to use me and my husband in whatever way he can, and if my heart is hart towards my husband I know it's not going to work. Recently I asked God to show me anything in me that would keep me from going back with him when He comes... and He did... and boy does it hurt! I am thankful for His Grace and I know He's with me... He's so merciful. ~Thank you for your prayers.

Anonymous said...

Wow....thank you so much. I needed to hear this. I believ God led me to your blog so I could see the hardening of my heart. Please pray for me. I don't want my heart to be hard. My hard heart has caused problems in my relationship and I need to trust God's that he will lead me to the right job and that he will take care of me.
Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

God is awesome! This is the second devotional I have come across today that deals with softening a hard heart! I have been praying how I can reach out to my 82 year old father who has a very hard and bitter heart and will never apologize to anyone. Please pray for God to soften his heart and pray that God will direct my words and that they can penetrate the hardness of his heart.
Thank you for your prayers, your work and the lives you touch.

May God bless you in your ministry,

Stephanie said...

Hi Glynnis

I found your devotional as I was surfing around the net for bible study tools. And from there I proceeded onto your blog. It is amazing how God connects us to the right resources for our edification and growth. I thank Him for your heart and for your powerful words. It has been an underlying subject in my Biblical studies lately - the condition of a believer's heart. And I am discovering that mine may not be as soft as I would like it to be. And it can get in the way of growth including fulfilling the will and commands of God. You mention forgiveness - that is a place where I currently stand am preparing to exit. I still struggle to forgive certain people in my life including myself.

I appreciate your prayers. Please pray that my heart would continually grow softer to receive from Him.

Again I am thankful for you and all my sisters in Christ out there. And my prayers go out to you all. Thank you for sharing.

God bless.

Janice said...

Please pray for my husband and I as we are going through some real tough financial times. Please pray that my heart does not harden against my husband because sometimes I feel like he made bad financial choices. I need to realize that this is a growing time for us and just stay close to God and trust him. Pray that my faith will be increased.

Anonymous said...

I struggle with offenses from the past and like you, I know what the "right" thing to do is. It's so much harder than it sounds! Through God's strength I'm patching broken roads and renewing relationships. This would never be done if I were doing this in my own strength...all the glory goes to Him.

I'm so thankful for all He's done and all He's continuing to do behind the scenes for me.....and all of us! :)

~Amy V.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me that I need to forgive even though I don't feel like it. My hard heart needs softening. I'm grafeful that you shared this message. Please pray for me.

Jennifer Renee said...

Glynnis, Thank you so much for all your encouragement. One person I have trouble forgiving is myself. Other people can forgive me and I can forgive them even though it's not always easy and most of the time my feelings get hurt so why do I beat up on myself so much and can't forgive myself as easily? This question is one I ask myself quite often.
As I read each comment I prayed for each person by name.
Andrea, as I read your comment God gave me the word Patience.
Janice, as I read your comment God said He'll supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.
God bless

Anonymous said...

Hi Glynnis,

Thanks for your devotion. I am puzzled regarding harden heart. How do we know that our heart is hard?

I try to ask myself these few days is there anything that hinders me from allowing God to draw near to me. Was it due to my harden heart.

After much thoughts I still could not figure out.

Qiu Yun

Glynnis Whitwer said...

Qiu asked the question, "How do you know your heart is hard?" That is an excellent question. Many people do not know, and live very sad and frustrated lives. I have known people who think that everything bad that happens to them is other people's fault. This is a sign their heart is hardened. A person with a softened heart sees she is in need of grace, just as much as everyone else is. When we understand just how much WE need a Savior, we find it easier to forgive others. I hope that helps Qiu.

Anonymous said...

Thank Glynnis for your reply. Really appreciate alot.

I will continue to follow your entry.

Qiu Yun

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you... Please add me to your prayers, that God will soften my hard heart... I have been so bitter and I feel the Lord opened my eyes to the cause... My hard heart...

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, i'd so love you to pray for me right now. I'm 16 at the moment and I was really hurt by my best guy friend. And also by my Dad. I'm really hurting at the moment and I just feel like i'm suffocating because I'm so hurt. And from all this i really have noticed how hard my heart has gotten and God is picking out all the little pieces of me to work on, so some prayer through this trickiness would really help. Thank you heaps. God bless. x

Anonymous said...

Please pray for me...
And a newly engaged relationship that is rocky because of hardened hearts on both sides...
Thank you.