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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why A Homecoming Nomination Mattered To Me

A Mother's Joy

This is my son's senior year in high school. He is a part of the marching band, serves on the loading crew, participates on UIL teams, and is the Debate Club President. In many ways, he is not unlike his peers, but I am delighted that he has found so many activities that he enjoys and so many places where he belongs.  In spite of his many activities, I was quite surprised and excited to find out that he had been selected as a nominee for Homecoming King.

It is probably safe to say that most, if not all, parents would be beaming with pride and joy to have a child nominated for the Homecoming Court.  So naturally, why would I be any different and why am I making such a big fuss about it? Some people may think it is from a place of parental bragging rights or some sort of assumed status, but in all sincerity, for me it comes from an overwhelming sense of awe and gratitude. There was a time when my son's future did not seem to have such a wonderful outlook.

You see, when he was just two-and-a-half, he received a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum. At that time, he had no communication skills whatsoever. He would not speak, he would not make eye contact, he wouldn't even point to things he wanted or needed. And if that wasn't enough to scare a mother of a small child, he also had uncontrollable  meltdowns almost daily caused by a sensory processing disorder and our inability to understand what he needed.

Before his diagnosis, I had imagined grand things for him.  I envisioned that he would be a great pastor, godly politician or honorable military leader. I dreamt of great and mighty things he would accomplish.  So the news that he might never speak, might never develop social skills, might not ever be independent blindsided me in a way I never could have anticipated.

With a little time of processing this news, I came to realize that I needed to mourn the loss of my expectations for my child in order to really accept him for who he was and then become the best advocate and cheerleader for him that I could be. I might have had to lay aside my expectations but I refused to give up my hope that he might live a rich and rewarding life. One in which he would love and know love. One in which he would know purpose and be able to contribute to the lives of those around him. 

It's been a long, and often challenging process, but as my husband and I looked for ways to help meet his needs, always pushed for what was in his best interest and educated everyone who had influence in his life about his challenges, we have seen him grow and blossom. Often times it required us to nudge him just outside of his comfort zone so he could learn what he needed to and gain confidence. Of course, we had lots of help along the way:  family, church family, para professionals, and many teachers have all contributed to his success. We certainly could not have  done it without them. The progress he has made is truly awe inspiring. Most people who meet him now never suspect he has an Asperger's diagnosis because he has come so very far.

So why exactly did his Homecoming nomination matter so much to me? Mostly words fail me, I feel my chest is going to burst at the seems with a joy I can not contain. There is no way to describe how amazing it is when something you thought could never be becomes a reality. But in the simplest way I can express it, I guess it is because it is the evidence that he is well liked and sociable, that he fits in and does make a difference and an impact in the lives of his peers. It is the fulfillment of so much more than I hoped for and it is the soft whisper of God to my heart that says "See, I am not done with him yet."  

I think I will continue to believe great and mighty things for his life.

Cherry Fargo
Being ReMade






Thursday, October 23, 2014

Prove It!

Prove It!


I love it when The Lord reminds me of a lesson He has been teaching me.  I don't think I will ever master some of them this side of heaven and that's why I need reminders.  Today's reminder came from listening to my favorite morning show on the radio, KCBI with Jeff & Rebecca.  I only get to listen for about 20 minutes in the car as I am taking kiddos to school and I always enjoy every minute of it. It is often a source of inspiration as it was today.  I had been wondering what I was going to blog about and on this morning's program was one of those reminders.

As a child, I had an abusive step-father for many years.  He often said these words to me: "You are so stupid! You are never going to amount to anything when you grow up."  When he said this to me I would think "You just wait until I grow up and we will see who the stupid one is!" For a long time after, it seemed to me that I had been so strong in those moments, that I hadn't allowed his hateful words to crush me.  

Over the years I have come to realize that, although I wasn't crushed by his statements, I was indeed broken because I felt compelled that I needed to prove him wrong.  What he said about me couldn't be right and I would not allow it to be.  That's a lot of pressure to put on one's self. It may look like confidence but it becomes bondage because when you are always striving to prove someone wrong, you are never free to just be who God created you to be. 

That bondage also carried over into other relationships for me.  I ended up in conflict with someone at a church I attended over something I was sure God had called me to do. This wasn't something I had taken lightly, I had sought counsel and prayed over it. Since I was already carrying this big chip on my shoulders, I was deeply wounded and offended when my motives were misjudged and I wanted to rise up and prove them wrong.  God calls us chosen, blessed, redeemed.  He wants us to step out in faith to minister to others.  He gives us gifts and talents to do that so  I also wanted to prove what God says about me was right.  That there was a calling on my life. Because if I could prove God right, then that would definitely prove my ex-step-father wrong. 

As I struggled with this "I'll show you mentality", God began to reveal to me that He already knows my heart. He knows all of my thoughts. He is my perfect judge and advocate. He is my redeemer, creator, loving father.  And then He impressed upon me that I do not have to prove anyone else wrong, because God knows the truth anyways and what do man's opinions really matter? We are not to seek our affirmations from the people around us, we are to look to Christ for our identity, (Galatians 1:10). I also do not have to prove God right either. He is sovereign, almighty, all powerful.  What can I possibly do to defend His honor that He can't do a million times better. What can I possibly do to force His purpose to be fulfilled in my life in my timing? Nothing at all. He is the author and perfecter of my faith, my calling, the purpose He has for my life.  He simply calls me to submit to being remade in His image and to follow His lead.  He is calling you to the same.

God loves you! It doesn't matter what the world thinks or what you are unfairly criticized for as long as you are chasing after Christ. There is nothing any amount of striving can accomplish so believe what God says about you and REST in it. You don't have to prove anything, you don't have to prove anyone wrong and you don't have to prove God right either.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession..."
1 Peter 2:9a NASB

Cherry Fargo
Being ReMade




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where Grace & Responsibility Overlap



My life tends to be messy.  It has almost always been that way. I have been told by a few that it is messier than what many people’s lives are and yet I know that is not as messy as others. Some of it is my own doing, consequences of my sin and bad choices.  More of it is the fall out of the sin of other people in my life and a portion of it is just plain old circumstantial, a part of the journey.

For a very long time I have had this perception that life just isn’t suppose to look like this.  I have thought that if I work hard enough to reach my goals and dreams, if I love God enough and am faithful to chase after Him, if I serve Him well then life will be far less messy, I would have everything I think I need and this journey would become easier.  Because of things I experienced as a child, I have had it stuck in my head that it is all, always, my responsibility, if I don’t do this and that and all of the other things, life will always be this way with the next mess happening before the last one is ever cleaned up and it will be my fault when it does.

I never had the opportunity to learn how to just “be” as a child.  An enormous amount of responsibility was thrust on me at an early age and as a result I have spent the majority of my life thinking that who I am is based on what I do instead of just being a child of God.  Redeemed, rescued, saved by grace have never seemed like enough.  Oh, I believe that my salvation is secure but I have struggled with the fear that all this mess is meaningless unless I turn it into something bright and shiny and magnificent to bring God glory.  I strive to clean up all the messes and attempt to get it all together so that I will feel worthy enough to be who He created me to be. Responsibility has become a stronghold and an idol, one that I am in the process of tearing down by admitting my limitations, by recognizing that I am very hard on myself, by acknowledging it’s not even within my power to make something out of it all.  “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6

I am also learning to accept that this IS life, it is challenging, it is messy and that is okay.  It’s okay for me to acknowledge my hurts and disappointments, then carry them to my Father in Heaven and exchange them for His truth and promises, His strength and His grace. God does want me to do my part but my responsibility is not the planning, doing and trying to control that I have made it. Rather it’s the sitting, waiting and trusting that God really means for it to be.


God doesn’t intend for me, or for any of us, to do by works what He wants to accomplish by grace.  He wants us to bring all of the pieces of our life to him, to surrender them and allow Him to do as He will with them.  Maybe He will make something magnificent and breathtaking out of it for all to see.  But maybe, sometimes the really magnificent thing is the healing that He brings to our own hearts when we learn to live where grace and responsibility overlap, when we learn how to just be His child who daily brings to Him the messes of our lives, not out of any agenda of our own, but out of trust and faith that whatever He does with it, His plan is perfect.

Cherry Fargo
Being ReMade

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Living The Fruitful Life Wrap Up


Good Morning,

From love to self-control, the last two weeks have been amazing walking through The Fruit of The Spirit with you guys.  Some of them were easier to grasp and put into practice for me but I am so grateful for a God who empowers us to do what He calls to do. This devotional was intended to challenge you to get into the word of God consistently as well as really think about how you could apply it to your life daily.  I was surprised at how many days God put opportunities directly in my path that related to the mornings topic and gave me a chance to practice what God was speaking to me.  I would love to hear from you if you had similar experiences.

I want to thank each and every one of you who have taken this journey with me and encouraged me along the way.  This was a challenge I set for myself to be able to write consistently for the 10 days/two weeks and I have learned so much from it.  My goal is to do more or these types of devotionals in the future.  I may start another one in the fall.  I have a heart to encourage those who God puts in my path whether it is a virtual path or a physical one, I want to honor God in that.  

I do need your help though!  Feedback is so valuable.  I would love to hear your thoughts about what you liked best about this devotional study and how it impacted you.  Were the devotionals a pretty quick read?  Did the challenge/action steps make an impact on you? Is this the type of devotional you might refer a friend to? What did you like best?  And if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comment section or email me at beingremadeshop@gmail.com 

Appreciate you!
Cherry





Friday, July 11, 2014

Day Ten: SELF-CONTROL

   Day Ten ~ SELF-CONTROL

Key Bible Verse- 
Titus 2:111-12
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

Thoughts to ponder- 
Self-control is the last of the fruit of the Spirit, possibly the most challenging for many of us. This is the power switch for harvesting all the others.  But let’s face it, we want what we want when we want it and exactly how we want it. That is the mindset of our society.  In stark contrast is the definition of self-control: the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult circumstances.

I think the greatest example of self-control by far was Jesus’ commitment to die on the cross.  He had the ability to make His pain stop, to make those who persecuted and tortured Him cease, to call ten thousand angels to His rescue. He didn’t do any of those things though because He knew that the pay off of His restraint was well worth it. There was a plan and a goal to be achieved, the reconciliation of mankind into relationship with God, and there was no other way to bring it to pass.

And so should it be with us, we should dig deep to find the fortitude to remain committed to growing in Christ, to become conformed to His likeness. It is not always going to be pretty or easy. We will certainly face challenges in cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Trust that He has a plan and purpose and that the practice of godly restraint in our lives will develop character in our lives. We must choose to look beyond our immediate circumstances and endure whatever God allows us to go through. It is our choice to make but God himself empowers us to do so.

Challenge/Action Step- 
Name one area of your life that self-discipline comes easy and one area of your life that self-control is a struggle. What are the differences between the two?  What is one thing you can do today to have greater discipline in your life?

Prayer for today-
Lord, thank you that you see us, and our struggles to be self-controlled and disciplined.  Thank you for your forgiveness as we lay our failures at Your feet in repentance and begin again.  I pray that you would help us to drawn near to you so that we can truly live a Spirit led life.  ~ AMEN


Thanks for joining me today as we continue this 
journey to understand and further develop the
fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Please take a minute to leave a 
comment here or join Cherry Fargo of Being ReMade on Facebook

for further discussion on Living The Fruitful Life.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day Nine: GENTLENESS


Day Nine ~ GENTLENESS


Key Bible Verse- 
Psalm 18:35  You have also given me the shield of salvation, And your right hand upholds me and your gentleness makes me great.

Thoughts to ponder- 
God's gentleness in us and working through us makes us great. But not for our own sakes, for the sake of the work He has called us to do in His Kingdom.  Gentleness, like the other fruit of the Spirit, is given to us as a gift, but we must open that gift, learn about it and put it into use for it to fully use it and see it working in our lives.

Some people confuse timidity or frailty with gentleness.  Gentleness is NOT weakness but rather the skill to wield power effectively.  It is using the power of God in us to draw others to Him by dealing with others in firm but tender ways.  When we choose not to respond to others with harshness or severity but in tenderness and kindness we are operating in gentleness.

Gentleness is also tied to humility.  In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells His disciples "...I am gentle and humble in heart...". I think to be gentle and humble of heart means that we know who we are in Christ and walk in a God-confidence which that knowledge brings.  However, at the same time we do not think too highly of ourselves. We understand that with out Christ we are nothing.  When gentleness becomes developed in our lives, we give up the need to defend or justify ourselves for the sake of being right. As we rest quietly in God and allow Him to work through our gentle actions towards others, He upholds us and makes us great witnesses to His transforming power available to all who believe.

Challenge/Action Step- 
Spend some time in prayer and ask God to show you any areas in your relationships that you tend to respond harshly or severely. Ask Him to reveal to you hoe He would like you to deal with similar situations in the future. Write it down so you will remember!

Prayer for today-
Thank you Lord that you have given us so much!  Help us to understand and realize that every gift we have received from You is for Your glory and help us to find great joy in that as we develop the virtue of gentleness in our lives. ~Amen.




Thanks for joining me today as we continue this 
journey to understand and further develop the
fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Please take a minute to leave a 
comment here or join Cherry Fargo of Being ReMade on Facebook
for further discussion on Living The Fruitful Life.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day Eight: FAITHFULNESS

Day Eight ~ FAITHFULNESS


Key Bible Verse- 
Lamentations 3:22-23
The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.

Thoughts to ponder- 
God demonstrates His faithfulness to us in the fact that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is unchanging which means He can be counted on at ALL times. In our human nature, we do not always measure up to this standard. We do change and we do fail. That is why I am so thankful for today's scripture verse that lets us know that every day we have a new opportunity to live a Spirit led life and develop faithfulness.  

It is not easy by any means other than the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and can only be measured in the light of God's example, not man's standards.  It is of utmost importance that we strive to be faithful to God for His purposes and not our own.  Trying to prove to others that we are faithful does not result in good fruit because our focus is in the wrong place.

God has given each one of us gifts and talents and created us each for specific purposes.  Our energy should be directed at being faithful to what God has for us to do. We can only discern what that is by being consistent in prayer and pursuing our relationship with Christ. And then we must be obedient in what He reveals to us. If we do not use the skills and resources He has given us in service to His purposes, we lose them.  Our goal should be to live a life of faithfulness that honors God so that at the end of it all, we will hear Him say "Well done good and faithful servant" Matthew 25:21a.

Challenge/Action Step- 
Think about people you would consider to be faithful. What has the impact of their faithfulness to God been on those around them?  What do you think the impact could be on those around you if you were to be more persistent in cultivating faithfulness in your own life?

Prayer for today-
Lord God, you are faithful all the time! Thank you for your mercy and grace when we miss the mark and new opportunities to begin again.  I pray that you would give each of us a clear picture of what it means to be faithful to you and your purposes in our lives.  Reveal to us the next step for developing this character in our lives today.




Thanks for joining me today as we continue this 
journey to understand and further develop the
fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Please take a minute to leave a 
comment here or join Cherry Fargo of Being ReMade on Facebook
for further discussion on Living The Fruitful Life.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day Seven: GOODNESS


Day Seven ~GOODNESS


Key Bible Verse-
Matthew12:35   A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

Thoughts to ponder- 
Goodness is the virtue of being favorable and possessing integrity. Easton's Bible Dictionary describes goodness like this: "Goodness in a man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, the choosing and following of all moral good."

There is a lot wrapped up in that definition. Simply said, goodness is a state of being AND doing.  It is action and attitude tied together by choice.  As believer's, we look to the Lord as our example.  In Psalm 119:68 the author is speaking to God and says: "You are good and do good. Teach me Your statutes." To cultivate the virtue of goodness we must study God's word to learn about Him and His character since He IS good. We must be diligent students of Christ and avid listeners to the Holy Spirit in order to store up within us the good fruit we want to produce.

From beginning to end, the Bible reveals the moral divide between good and evil. God has even placed a conscience within us to help us determine the differences between the two.  Our level of integrity will often be made know to us by the choices we make when no one else is watching. It is essential that we constantly try to do good things that honor God.


Challenge/Action Step- 
The Bible has so much to say on the topic of goodness that it is difficult to cover well in a short devotional.  Therefore, I would like to encourage you to do a quick word search for the words goodness, good and evil. Try to read about 3 to 4 verses for each word.  Based on the verses you read write a definition for the goodness using your own words.

Prayer for today-
Father, you are good and you have called us to be filled with your goodness as well.  Help us to make the right choices each and every day that are rooted in goodness, integrity and moral excellence.  I pray that you would give us wisdom and understanding as we study your word and hide it in our hearts. ~ AMEN

Monday, July 7, 2014

Day Six: KINDNESS


Day Six ~ KINDNESS


Key Bible Verse- 
Job 6:14 Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

Thoughts to ponder- 
Our scripture verse cautions us to remember what God has done for us.  His great kindness to us was the gift of His Son for the reconciliation of our sins. This was given out of His deep love for us.  Kindness then, is born out of the choice to love others in the same manner that God loves us. It should create in us a profound desire to put that love into action demonstrated by generosity and compassion.

It involves giving of ourselves and our resources to encourage, inspire and brighten the lives of others.  It should give those around us a glimpse of God's own tenderness and mercy. Everyone that we meet is in some stage of overcoming difficulties in this life. We can make a difference by showing kindness. This kind of love in action almost always requires sacrifice on our part. We will give of our time, our energy, our possessions, our finances, but all of these things pale in comparison to the sacrifice that Christ made for us. His example should compel us to do what we can when we can.  

When we live a life showing gentleness and compassion, we will often find this kindness returned to us.  It doesn't have to be difficult or complicated, the concept is as simple as treating others like we want to be treated. 

Challenge/Action Step- 
In what ways have you been shown kindness recently?  Make a list of three ways that you can show kindness to others this week and make a point to follow through.

Prayer for today-
Thank you Lord for the great kindness and mercy you have shown us.  I pray that you will show us  new ways to practice kindness and that as we do, others will be drawn to you.  ~AMEN



Thanks for joining me today as we continue this 
journey to understand and further develop the
fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Please take a minute to leave a 
comment here or join Cherry Fargo of Being ReMade on Facebook
for further discussion on Living The Fruitful Life.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Weekly Recap


Thank you so much to everyone who has joined me on this journey! I hope you have been enjoying this week's posts.  So far our devotionals for Living The Fruitful Life have included:


If you are able to this weekend, take some time to review this week's lessons.  Was there one that stood out to you more than the others? I would love to hear your feedback or answer any questions you might have.  Please use the comment feature below to communicate them with me!

Please feel free to share any of the blogs links with anyone you think would benefit from this study.  It is my prayer that you will have a deeper understanding of the fruit of the Spirit, a closer walk with God, and a more developed quiet time habit formed by the end of our 10 study challenge.  It is my honor and privilege to serve you and pray for you.

Many Blessings,
Cherry




Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day Five: PATIENCE

Day Five ~ Patience


Key Bible Verse- 
Ephesians 4:1c - 3 
Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

Thoughts to ponder- 
If love is the embodiment of all of the other fruit of the Spirit as we discussed on day two, then patience is the backbone of the entire group. It is what enables us to be effective in all of these.  It is essential to our character development and yet, it takes time and divine trust to cultivate in our lives.

Patience means to have long suffering and to be slow to become angry. This requires the discipline and determination to put our immediate feelings and desires aside.  Practicing patience is about extending grace to our own circumstances and to the people around us.  In relationships, it means valuing what God wants to do in someone else more than you value what you want to have happen and it involves being tolerant, in love, of where the other person is in their walk with Christ.

Most importantly, patience depends upon trusting that God's timing is is perfect and agreeing in humility with Jesus statement "Father...yet not as I will, but as You will". (Matthew 26:39)

Challenge/Action Step- 
Think about the things that most often cause you to become impatient.  Ask God to help you discern the reasons for it.  What is one thing you can do today to develop greater patience?

Prayer for today-
Father we thank you that you are a patient God and slow to anger. I pray today that You would shine a light on our hearts and help us to discern the reasons we become so impatient at times.  I pray that You would empower us with the discipline and determination to develop the character of patience in our life. ~ Amen


Thanks for joining me today as we continue this 
journey to understand and further develop the
fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Please take a minute to leave a 
comment here or join Cherry Fargo of Being ReMade on Facebook
for further discussion on Living The Fruitful Life.