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Entries in Kathy Collard Miller (20)

Tuesday
Jun112019

Clear Your Hardened Spiritual Arteries

Kathy Collard Miller writes much about the heart, because she wants people to have a right heart with God. In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she focuses on the problem of bitterness, and God's solution, forgiveness. 

"Unforgiveness gives us hardening of our spiritual arteries," Kathy says. "God wants only the best for us, so he says, 'Forgive!'"

I (Dawn) know from experience the "hardening" of an unforgiving heart. I also know how forgiving my offender released me from the prison of bitterness. Kathy's personal story describes the power of living life God's way.

Kathy continues . . .  

I knew my heart had hardened toward my father-in-law. His commitment to another religious viewpoint kept him occupied when we visited, and he constantly, angrily debated his ideas with us. He could go on and on about his beliefs without ever being willing to hear anything we said.

I felt frustrated. Without realizing it, I believed I had to protect my heart by becoming bitter.

I could never think of anything he did right, only his faults whether we were visiting him and my mother-in-law or not. I focused on his lack of care for his son and his grandchildren.

Although he gave some attention to our children, I longed for him to be a patient and encouraging grandfather investing in their spiritual growth.

It appeared to me he only represented his view of God as mean and spiteful.

I knew my responses weren’t representing God well either, but I felt trapped in my bitter rehearsing of his faults.

Over time I learned three important truths to set me free from my bitterness and bring joy into our family.

1. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.

At times, I tried to forgive him. I knew my hard heart wasn’t helping the situation and didn’t help my young children either—supposedly the very ones I was so concerned about.

I forced myself to think, “Don, I forgive you,” but later, the old feelings surfaced again. I concluded I hadn’t really forgiven him.

Eventually, I realized I had made a conscious choice to forgive him and that is forgiveness.

Feelings are fickle and will return. It doesn’t mean I hadn’t forgiven him.

2. We can be motivated to cooperate with God's call of forgiveness when we really understand it’s God’s plan for our good.

God doesn’t want us to forgive because he wants us to be hurt again.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we are obligated to allow someone to continue to hurt us. Forgiveness can involve boundaries and loving strength to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

The reason God says forgiveness is for our good is because we are set free from having another person control us.

After all, if we are constantly negatively rehearsing the way they hurt us, then we aren’t thinking about the wonderful parts of our lives and God’s love for us.

3. We can forgive because God has forgiven us far more than the hurt from another person.

We don’t deserve God’s forgiveness. But Jesus’s death made God’s forgiveness possible, because He paid the debt we owed. God’s loving graciousness declares we are in His forever family and set free from our sins. We can’t earn that by being good; it’s a free gift.

Colossians 3:13 inspires us:Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Gratitude for God’s unearned and undeserved love can motivate us to release punishing someone else.

As God continued over time to help me with these truths, my anger toward Don diminished and I could more easily make that choice to stop rehearsing his faults.

He even turned from his erroneous thinking and returned to true faith in Jesus as his Savior and Lord when he was 83. He became a different person of love and joy.

Although he never acknowledged how he had hurt our family, including my husband’s mom, we knew his hugs loved us authentically.

After he had a sudden brain aneurism at age 90 and lay in the hospital dying, I was able to read him the letter of forgiveness I’d written him.

I doubt he heard me, but I knew God had heard my heart’s cry and released me totally from the bitterness I had harbored.

I also included in the letter the ways he had loved his family, though they had seemed so insignificant over the years. Just as I fail, he couldn’t be perfect. That helped me see the good parts of our family dynamics.

Today, I know the power of forgiveness, which clears our hardened spiritual arteries.

Who is God calling you to take an initial conscious step to forgive? Ask God to help you make that decision.

Kathy Collard Miller is a wife, mom, and grandma who speaks and writes about God’s work in her life, family, and marriage. She has authored 54 books including Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Larry, of 49 years. For more information about Kathy, visi www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Giralt at Pixabay.   

 

Tuesday
Feb122019

After Almost 50 Years of Marriage ...

Kathy Collard Miller's honesty about her own personal weaknesses and how God has transformed them and enabled her to build a marriage in strength. In this Marriage UPGRADE, she gets honest about what almost destroyed her marriage, and three concepts that have made a huge difference.

"When we were married on June 20, 1970, I thought trusting that God had chosen Larry and I for each other was enough," Kathy says. "As a result, we went through some very difficult times."

I (Dawn) know every marriage has rough patches. Sometimes turbulent ones. But I know what Kathy shares here is true. We can make choices to strengthen our own marriage to the glory of God.

It's almost Valentine's Day—the perfect time to examine our marriages and consider where they still need to grow.

Kathy continues . . .

For our long-lasting wonderful relationship, I depend upon three basic concepts. They may seem too simple, but they make a world of difference.

1. We’re different.

Seems too basic? It’s not. Every child grows up thinking that the way they view people, life, and God is the right way.

But we don’t recognize how our different experiences influence our current belief system and can negatively affect our marriage. I still fall into it at times—to the peril of our marriage.

God wants to use those differences to help us believe God’s perspective, not our own.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

After we married, I told Larry, “I’m going to the bank to open our Christmas fund.” He looked horrified and said, “No, you’re not!”

I was offended.

My mother paid for our many gifts by saving all year. Larry only received one gift from his parents and no gifts from relatives. What a shock!

Not only did we have different past experiences, we had gender differences. The world wants us to think there are no differences, but God created male and female different.

When Larry is telling me something sweet, I find it hard to believe because he can’t seem to look me in the eye. But men have a hard time doing that when saying something positive. When they are saying something confrontational, they have no trouble at all.

Like all gender differences, this difference is a generalization, but very true over all. Now that I know, I can believe his words without him looking directly at me.

2. Everyone can grow and change.

When I’m disgruntled with Larry, what’s bothering me convinces me he won’t ever change. I can rehearse every wrong thing he’s done to support my bitterness.

I’m convinced that if I hadn’t finally believed everyone can change, I could have walked out the door—or at the least continued in my hopelessness about my horrible marriage.

But BOTH of us have changed and for the better. It hasn’t always been as fast as I want but we have learned to be more patient, supportive and understanding.

If we believe any person can’t change, we are saying God doesn’t love that person.

Hebrews 12:6 assures us, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Even when nothing seems to be happening in our mate’s heart, God is on the move.

We can most support His work by receiving God’s correction ourselves.

Remember: no one is beyond God’s ability to influence and change. He may be using resources we don’t know about.

3. God is FOR your marriage.

He wants your marriage to persevere and prosper, because it represents Him to the world.

Ephesians 5:31-32 tells us, “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

During many of the times I focused on the negatives of Larry’s behavior or attitudes, I was convinced God didn’t care about our marriage.

But I’m now convinced He not only cares; God is passionate about representing His perfections through helping us learn to love each other more.

No, not become perfect.

But our increasing joy and contentment point to Him.

Do you want a long-lasting marriage? At this point, it might be hard to envision celebrating 50 years married to your spouse. I sure never thought it would be around the corner for us.

But you’ll get there as you live day by day reminding yourself that

  • your spouse is different than you by God’s design,
  • everyone can change and God is working on it,
  • and God is for your marriage.

Which of those three points is most important to you right now, and how can you remind yourself of its truth?

Kathy Collard Miller and Larry, a retired police lieutenant, have had many adventures together, including writing, speaking, being lay-counselors, and traveling the world. They live in Southern California and have two children and two grandchildren. One of Kathy’s recent books is No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom, which tells the story of how God healed their marriage and delivered Kathy from her abusive anger. Visit her website for more information.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Wife of Excellence at Pixabay.

Thursday
Dec202018

Enjoy Your Friendships—Especially at Christmastime!

Kathy Collard Miller is an amazing writer and speaker who focuses on women's hearts—encouraging women to live as Daughters of the King. In this Christmas UPGRADE, Kathy invites us to consider our friendships at Christmastime.

"Do friendships seem more beneficial or challenging? Most likely both," Kathy said.

I (Dawn) can't tell you how many new friendships I've developed during past Christmas seasons, but even more, I've come to appreciate the value of faithful friends who continue to encourage, challenge and motivate me.

Thank you, Kathy, for reminding us to view our friendships from God's perspective!

Kathy continues . . .

Let’s see how we can be more blessed by friendships than frustrated—especially during the holidays.

Friendships are gifts from God.

That may sound very basic, but when we remember God orchestrated every human contact, we can be grateful even when it’s a challenging connection.

When we are tempted to grumble instead, let’s remember the truth about friendships.

1. Friendships are God’s gift.

Sometimes we define “good” as “trouble-free.” We can easily assume God made a mistake or is mean-spirited when He connects us with an “unlovable” person. And certainly God might lead us to limit our availability, but every person has a purpose in our lives and we have God’s purpose in their lives.

Especially at Christmas, there might be a specific talent or perspective you offer few others can offer. Look for that kind of opportunity.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” How appropriate at the stressful time of Christmas.

2. Friendships are an invitation to draw closer to God.

For instance, if boundaries are needed, seek His plan and don’t immediately assume you should cut off the friendship.

I remember a challenging friendship which seemed her fault. I thought of requirements for her behavior which would eliminate my uncertainty.

Suddenly, I saw my plan of not needing to seeking God’s guidance at each challenge.

I released my control and learned to be more loving and kind with God’s power.

I remembered James 1:2: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

At Christmas, everyone celebrates differently. That can feel stressful and we might want to withdrawn or control.

God’s power can give us a gracious perspective of honoring others and see how we depend upon God because of it.

3. Friendships are examples to encourage us.

  • Is there someone who handles stress better than you by depending upon God? Ask her how she maintains her peace.
  • Is there someone who sets up priorities more effectively than you? Ask her about how she makes plans.
  • Is there someone who makes Christmas more worshipful? Ask her to share her ideas.

Most of us resist asking for help, but we need to humble ourselves. One humble question can open the door within another person’s heart to ask for help.

4. Friendships aren’t for comparisons.

You may have a friend who decorates amazingly for Christmas and you don’t know how to make those amazing bows. Don’t belittle your lack of designing skills.

Another friend is a fabulous gourmet cook and you can’t seem to remember to take the neck and giblets out of the cavity of the turkey. Don’t apologize every time someone takes a bite of your simple meal.

God never wants you to compare with another. I Corinthians 12:5-6 tells us, “there are varieties of service, … but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”

You are uniquely suited for God’s service to others.

Be grateful for the God-given skills He’s given you, even if they seem lacking in comparison.

You have ideas others lack and are impressed by.

Use them for God’s glory.

What friendship challenge is God using to make you more holy or to give you an opportunity to help another?

Kathy Collard Miller is amazed at God’s work in and through her. She has spoken in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries. As an author she has over 50 published books and her latest is At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series (Elk Lake Publishers). She is a wife, mom, grandma, and lay counselor living in Southern California. Discover more about Kathy's ministry at her website

Graphic adapted, courtesy of CelebrateWoman at Pixabay.

 

Wednesday
Jul252018

Communicate Well with that 'Irregular' Person

Kathy Collard Miller speaks well to relationships, and especially how we get along. In this Communication UPGRADE, she offers biblical insight into communication skills we all need.

“Someone has said, ‘An irregular person is anyone we don’t get along with,’” Kathy says. “But we should remember someone may be calling us their irregular person! And maybe it’s because our communication skills could improve.”

That is so true! I (Dawn) discovered that when the Lord opened my eyes about someone I thought was too direct and a bit critical in our conversations. As it turned out, I was hyper-sensitive and reactive—something I needed to change.

Kathy continues . . .

It’s easy to think negatively about someone when there is a lack of harmony between us.

“After all, if she weren’t such an irregular kind of person, she wouldn’t misunderstand me. All my other friends understand me. It must be her."

I’ve been studying the biblical book of Proverbs and communication is an important topic in that practical book. Let’s see what insights God offers us for better communication. Maybe we are more irregular than we think.

There are always skills we can learn.

1. Talk less than you think you should even if you feel defensive.

Proverbs 10:19 urges us, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (ESV).

How true, how true. We all are able to hold our tongue and, at that point, things are going well.

But then we reach our limit and we try to defend ourselves with many words.

Most of the time, many words get us in big trouble.

The more we say, the less we are heard and understood. One temptation is adding points that aren’t relevant to the current topic.

“Oh, and by the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you also about how a month ago you….”

Our many words have now become more complicated and the real issue is harder to deal with.

Less is more in relationships, and especially with someone we aren’t connecting with well. Let’s ask God to help us speak less than more.

2. Keep your voice soft.

Of course such advice as “keep your voice soft” seems impossible, but it really is possible to learn. You’ll be motivated even more when you begin to see the advantages it brings.

Proverbs 15:1 tells us, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

At the time of dealing with someone who seems against us, we feel powerless. They won’t listen nor heed what we’re saying. Everything within us wants to be heard and by golly, we’ll raise our voice to make it happen.

DON'T.

It’ll be the hardest thing ever, but don’t. Instead, use the “broken record technique.” Just say the main point over again in a normal voice.

For instance, “I hear you think I said … but I really said ….” When the person raises her voice and is defensive, again repeat softly, “I hear you think I said … but I really said…” Repeat again as needed—softly!

This is extremely hard but it is possible in God’s power. As a result, you’ll see anger is less likely to be stirred up and there’s a better possibility of a positive conversation.

3. In the end, God must be the one we depend upon to protect us.

After all we’ve done, our efforts may not gain us what we want. Our “irregular” person may respond more aggressively, and we wonder what they are thinking of us. Is it even worse than before?

Our only peace must come from the truth of Proverbs 30:5: “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

Our words haven’t gained us what we wanted, but God’s Word never goes wrong. The Lord knows the truth about us and our intentions, and He will protect us according to His loving will for us.

We can trust Him.

What can I do to help communicate with the person who seems irregular to me? When my efforts don’t turn out the way I’d prefer, how can I find God as my refuge?

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 50 books, her most recent is No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.). She loves to speak at evenats and has spoken in more than 30 US states and eight foreign countries. Learn more about Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pasja1000 at Pixabay.

Tuesday
May152018

How to Deal with Gossip—about You!

In this Attitude UPGRADE, Kathy Collard Miller addresses the wounding of gossip, and how godly people should respond when others' words hurt.

“Dealing with people who gossip about us is so difficult,” Kathy says. “But there is a way to have peace—through godly sorrow.”

I (Dawn) have to admit: I've never thought about gossip that way. But Kathy's insight is simply amazing ... and biblical!

Kathy continues . . .

I recently learned that someone criticized me to a group of people. Although I didn’t know this group of people, I felt deeply wounded that I was misrepresented.

I wanted to lash out at the gossiping person. Then I thought of the Apostle Paul’s response to his fellow Jews who were gossiping about him.

“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:2-3 ESV)

Because of that passage, I asked God to give me godly sorrow for that person—even at my own expense.

Asking myself three questions helped me have godly sorrow and peace.

1. Why might this person speak negatively about me?

The gossiping woman had been deeply wounded as a child and felt inadequate. She compared herself to everyone and always found herself lacking.

Her need to gossip, though sinning, wasn’t particularly about me. It was her sinful pattern to deal with her own insecurity. I felt offended, but being offended is because I’m believing the lie she told about me.

I truly believe most gossipers are motivated by their own broken self-image.

Most often those who listen to a gossiper can identify their motive. But even if they don’t, my worth and value is determined by God, not someone else’s words about me.

2. How can I love that gossiping person?

Although I wanted to confront that person, I was able to correctly evaluate God’s will because of the peace from godly sorrow in my heart.

Sometimes the Lord will lead us to confront that sinning person and we need to do it in love, not in haste and anger. Only seeing their broken heart and motives will give us the ability to love them for their good, not our defense.

My own sin of succumbing to the temptation of gossiping in the past helped me to forgive this woman. The Bible says we can forgive others who have hurt us because we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13)

3. Why do I feel threatened?

That question might seem totally ridiculous, because the answer is she talked about me!

But there’s something deeper.

I felt a need to defend the halo around my reputation.

To make sure everyone knew I really am a good person.

But my peace came from knowing God is in charge of my reputation and He can defend me if He wants. Even if I go around trying to correct other people’s opinion of me, it will only cause me distress.

People choose what they want to believe. I can’t control that.

Have you been gossiped about? Have you gossiped?

  • If we’re on the receiving end, we can trust God by knowing He is our defender.
  • If we have gossiped, we need to ask God to forgive us and ask for forgiveness of the person we sinned against.

Either way, peace from godly sorrow will well up inside us—whether it’s the sin of others or our own.

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 50 books, her most recent is No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom (Elk Lake Publishing). She loves to speak at events and has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. Visit her: www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Prixel Creative at Lightstock.