Monday, December 17, 2007

What's that in your hand?

First, let me extend a big southern welcome to gals visiting me from Lysa's blog! I'd pour you a glass of sweet tea but I'm getting ready to board a plane to Baltimore, MD for a Tuesday evening speaking engagement. So I'm guzzling green tea out of a Snapple bottle this morning.

I'm so glad you visited me, and so hoping you'll win today's drawing for the devotional book. Here's the secret deal - if you post a comment here today and you happen to be the winner Lysa draws, I'll throw in a special surprise with your book and Starbucks gift card! Shhh, don't tell, just go post in both places (Lysa's blog and mine).

Now if you haven't seen our devotional book before, it contains 175 of our devotions in a slightly shorter format than our online devotions. I'll give you a little taste of it with an example below.

But first, I'm just going to frankly admit that the holidays can bring chances to come face-to-face with people we may have preferred to avoid. Family gatherings can become prime opportunities for hurt feelings or tempers to flare. We get short-tempered with our spouse, for instance, over little things like which sweater (or t-shirt) he wears for the occasion. Grudges with siblings or cousins are dredged up. Old feelings of competition are sparked. The festivities are dampened, and the light of Christ in us somehow fades. With that in mind, maybe this devotion will be "food for thought" for your next holiday dinner and mine.

*Excerpted from God's Purpose for Every Woman (Harvest House, 2007):

Ice Princess
By Rachel Olsen

People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs. Proverbs 19:11 (NLT)

I gasped as the ice-dancing pair both fell in the final seconds of their routine. They had come out of retirement to skate in the Olympics before their home crowd, and skated well enough in the first round to be in first place heading into the second round of the three-day competition.

Both partners recovered from the fall in time to hit their final pose as the music ended. They headed to center rink where they’re expected to take bows. It was then the real drama began. The woman faced her partner with an intense look. Was she hurt? She stood staring at him for the longest time. The camera angle widened, allowing us to see his face also. At first he looked disappointed, then confused, and then he simply matched her stare.
As the staring contest wore on, the crowd grew quiet and uncomfortable. By this point it was clear she was communicating tremendous disapproval with her icy look. I suspect this man wanted nothing more than to take his partner’s hand, shrug off their shared disappointment, and take their bows – but his manhood was being challenged, in public no less.

Eventually they did bow and head to the “kiss and cry” to await their scores. She still didn’t give it a rest. She was not looking at the scores, crowd, or camera, but mostly glaring over at him in anger. As a skating fan, I’ve seen many drops, mistakes and falls, yet I’ve never seen a partner behave like this afterwards. They dropped from first place to seventh with one round left to skate, and the sun went down on her anger.

The next day the pair entered the arena separately, warmed up separately and didn’t speak a word to each other. You could cut the tension backstage with a knife. This behavior continued until they joined hands on the ice to begin their final routine. Both partners skated beautifully and the world waited to see what her reaction would be. She was pleased, so she dramatically hugged and kissed him. I’ve never seen a clearer picture of performance-based love.

Like this ice princess, I am prone to use the icy silent treatment when I’m mad at my spouse. I can say from experience that it’s not healthy, nor productive. The silent treatment communicates: If you do not please me 100%, you no longer exist in my world. After reading Matthew 5:21-22, I’m guessing Jesus would consider this method of anger-management murderous.

The Bible advises against performance-based love, and advocates grace-based love instead. Proverbs 19:11 explains we should be slow to anger and quick to forgive. The Message puts it this way, “Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” We’re also advised to stop mulling over our grievances.

First Corinthians 13 explains that a loving person is not irritable or demanding, and does not carry a grudge (vs. 4-5). After all, it’s hard to be graceful with a grudge in hand. Have you been full of grace lately, or slightly icy?


  1. Today's devotion and recent conversation with my Mom about the upcoming family gathering reminded me that we most not focus on what other's do and base our responses to them on their behavior. That only leads to family drama. I am more at peace when I can keep in mind that I am only responsible for my behavior and my responses should always be based on love. Thanks for the message. I hope I am lucky enough to win the prize. :) Merry Christmas! Michelle A.

  2. Thanks for the reminders! Hope you have a safe trip!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. It's interesting how God uses these blog posts to speak to my heart. I am grateful for the scriptures that remind me of God's expectations for loving others. I have been hurt by my church "family" in the last year. It's easy to hold onto the grudges and use silent treatment, but I think doing that hurts me more and makes me bitter.


  4. You need to see the reconsilosec video on youtube. Our pastor showed it a few weeks ago in church and it's so funny - about those Christmas family gatherings.

    Anyway, I read your blog all the time, actually found out about Lysa's giveaways through you, not the other way around. I appreciate your openness and how you always have something that I need to hear. I am a 28-year-old mother of 3 in diapers and literally haven't slept through the night in over 3 years. Life can get overwhelming when you're that tired and I love the encouragement I read on your site. So thanks!

    Tina R. in NC

  5. Hi Rachel! Be safe on your trip and have fun! I have been known to have that icy temperment at time,ok, well a lot of times. It is not healthy at all, for me or those around me. We must look to God in every situation so he can fill us w/ that joy that only HE can give. I don't want my light for Christ to fade, especially during His birthday season. Alyce

  6. Thanks for doing this. What a neat idea. THanks for the reminders too about Jesus being the forefront of the holiday and how family conflict can make Him fade away. It is after all His birthday, not aunt susie's all about her and no one else day!

  7. I appreciate your reminders about time with family. Merry Christmas!

  8. I love your blog! I'm so glad I followed your link off of Lysa's! Thanks for the good information and I look forward to "talking" via the blog!

  9. Rachel-
    I loved reading that story! It drew me in and really made me think about how I am loving others in my life.
    It took me a long, long time to understand the difference between performance-based love, and grace- based love. As I move closer to the Lord, I understand to a greater extent the forgiveness and acceptance I've been extended. It then becomes much easier to show that to others.
    It's good to remember to turn to Jesus FIRST to fill our needs, not the people in our lives.
    You will NEVER look into the eyes of a person who isn't loved and treasured by Jesus!

    You will NEVER look into the eyes of someone who isn't loved and treasured by Jesus!!

  10. Rachel,

    I'm coming back to read, I have to go do something very important first, but first I just want to thank you for the prize at Lysa's web blog. Thank you so much for sponsoring this. I am so full of joy today. You and Lysa and God. Wow! Thank you, Shoua @

  11. I was icy. But, now I think I'm okay. Still in the works. God is not finished with me yet.

  12. Thank you for your devotion - I have a gathering on Saturday that I have started to worry about.

    I know now what my response will be - love and more love.


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