When you are driving around in
your car, have you ever noticed the different messages people
have on their automobiles. Have you ever seen the different
stickers, and then the license plate frames? People come
up with some really bizarre things. Robert and I were on
our way home from work the other day, and we were heading
down the 5 freeway and all of a sudden he said, "Donna,
look at that license plate frame." As I looked up,
there was a beautiful brand new luxury sedan driven by a
woman who looked to be about my age. There she was driving
down the freeway and framed in broad daylight in big letters
around her California license plate,(and I can't say exactly
what it said, but you can fill in the blanks.) On the top
part of the frame it said, "I am not a b..." and
the five-letter word, and the lower part of the frame said,
"I am the b..." and you can fill in the blank!
Can you believe it? It dawned on me it wasn't just a frame
around her license plate. I would bet that is a frame she
has put around her entire life and how sad that is. How
many years has she carried that? How many people would like
to learn a better way to reframe yourself, others and God?
I know I would. I know I always can work on things. You
know, people think oh you are a pastor's wife, you must
have it all figured out. Well, I don't! These are things
I need to work on daily. I need to reframe myself, I need
to reframe others and God and the thoughts I have about
Why is it important to reframe? I believe it is important to reframe these
three things because until we do, until we put the proper
frame around ourselves, others and God, we cannot begin
to look at others the way that Jesus looks at us. That is
an important thing.
As my father-in-law has said for many years, "The me I see is the
me I'll be." So, I'd like to start by helping you look
at yourself. In the Old Testament, we also read in Proverbs
3:7, "As a man thinks," (and you can substitute
woman in there, too,) "As a man or woman thinks, so
is he." You know I learned a little bit about framing
last year, when I took a group of women to Shreveport, Louisiana
and we framed a house. I learned something about physical
framing. One of the things I learned is that to frame a
house, you use either two by fours, or two by sixes. The
important thing in framing is you have to place them either
sixteen or twenty four inches apart. You can't just haphazardly
hammer things where you want them. Depending upon what you
are framing, they either go sixteen or twenty four inches
apart. Now what happens when you don't follow the directions,
when you don't frame properly? I can tell you because we
made some mistakes. You have to rip out all the nails and
it is difficult because you have a lot of nails hammered
If you look at your life, sometimes the framing you put around your life
is the same way. It's time to rip out those nails and start
over. I know framing that house was difficult when we had
to start over, it was very frustrating. It's actually more
frustrating when you have to do this with your life. Does
it hurt? Yes. Do you stub your fingers? Do you get blisters?
Of course you do, but it's worth it. We are all given a
framework, we all start this life and we put a frame around
us as the years go on. We frame our life with past experiences,
our family experiences, our experiences with our friends,
with teachers in school. We also have a God given temperament
and these are called the genes of nature versus the genes
of nurture. So we all have this framework. It's not easy
to learn to reframe ourselves, so how do we do that? Reframing
is a psychological term that is used in psychological circles
by doctors and also various mediators. The process of reframing
is simply to take a thought, or a situation and you change
the way you perceive it. It's not denying that a situation
exists. It is simply finding another way to look at it.
It's interesting, I was studying the word repent the other
day. Those of you who have grown up in church have heard
this word repent. The word reframe is another way of saying
repent. To look at yourself the way Jesus looks at you,
you may need to reframe some of your negative
thinking, some of the things you've carried with you throughout your life.
What are the messages you give to yourself? Do you sit there, do you talk
to yourself and say I'm not good enough, I'm not smart enough,
I'm too fat, I'm too thin, I'm not successful enough? I
challenge you today to replace those messages. How do you
do that? It's not easy. Again, remember, "The me I
see is the me I'll be."
I have a couple of scriptures for you. The Bible is so powerful. It's not
to be left on your shelf. It's to outline even the simplest
scriptures that can mean so much in building yourself up.
"I am God's workmanship." (Ephesians 2:10)
"I have been redeemed and forgiven."
"I am the salt and the light of the
Claim these promises. Once you begin to reframe yourself, you can begin
to reframe others. Everyone has a unique and special story.
We all have our pains, we all have our joys, but each person
is valuable to God. Each person is truly a child of God.
Everyone is equal. It is an important thing to remember.
Dr. Viktor Frankl is one of my mentors. I think he was one of the most
marvelous individuals that ever lived. He was a Holocaust
survivor, a very famous psychologist. He was the father
of logo therapy and actually was also a friend of my father-in-law.
I believe Viktor Frankl died in the late 90's; I would love
to have sat with him and talked to him. One of my favorite
books is a book he wrote called Man's Search for Meaning.
One of the things Viktor Frankl is famous for saying is
"What counts in life is not what is in the depths,
but it's what's in the future." This statement and
this practice is what got him through the Holocaust, through
the concentration camps. As you're reframing
yourself and others, if you can continue to think about
the end result; i.e., how would you like it worked out?
It won't always happen. But if you expect the best in people,
there's a lot better chance you are going to get it than
if you don't.
I will never forget the morning of March 29, 1969. My mother woke up my
brother and me early. I was 13 years old, my brother was
10. She sat us both down and she said, "I have something
to tell you and it's going to hurt you for a very, very
long time. Last night, your father was killed in a car accident."
So my mom shared with my brother and I that there was something
that was going to hurt for very, very many years. It did
indeed hurt for a very long time. Recently, at one of our
High School events here at the Cathedral, one of our high
school seniors shared how she also had experienced the death
of her father. Alex shared how she ran towards God and got
closer and closer after she went through the shock of losing
her father. Unfortunately, in my case, I didn't run towards
God. My family had always been to church. I was raised
a Presbyterian, baptized as an infant in the Presbyterian
Church, but we did what a lot of people do when you go through
something so tragic. We ran away from God for many, many
years. I looked at God and I questioned him and I couldn't
believe that He would do this to me. Why did You do this
to me? Why would You take my dad? I had the anger; the frustration
and I had the blame. I blamed God. I always believed in
God, that was one good thing. I've had people ask me, "Did
you lose your belief in God?" I never lost my
belief in God. But I did blame God and guess what, I also
blamed myself. Had I been with my Father that night, and
not been with my friends, he probably wouldn't have been
in a car accident, etc., etc.
Some years later, I finally grieved that loss and believe me, it was some
years later. I was about 35 years old before I finally came
to grips with what that meant, losing a father when I was
a teenager. Some years later, after I'd healed and through
marrying into this incredible wonderful family with a positive
faith and learning to embrace such a positive faith myself
and learning to have a great positive relationship with
Christ, I've been able to look back and I see of course
that would happen to me. Why wouldn't it happen to me? I
truly believe that is one of the reasons I'm standing here
today and one of the reasons I did marry into this family.
God uses our pain. He uses our pain and our knowledge and
He helps me now empathize with some of what all of you go
through on a daily basis.
About five years ago Robert and I we were talking about death and dying
and grieving and it was one of the years where I believe
my husband had about 13 funerals of people that we knew
very well. Robert asked me a question, which was very interesting.
He said, "When do you think it's ever easy to say good
bye to somebody?" I have thought a lot about that since.
I don't think it's ever easy to say good-bye. It was very
difficult on me not having a father growing up for my teen
years through my 20's. Now, I have an adopted father in
my father-in-law. Now, at my age I see a lot of my friends
losing their parents. I've given this a lot of thought.
I don't think it's ever easy to say good bye. But I know
one thing: every day is a gift from God. We need to frame
God that way. We can't second-guess Him. We just have to
A little over a month ago, I lost my grandmother. She was a hundred years
old. She was almost a hundred and one. I thought when she
passed away that it would be an easy transition. I expected
her to go, on one side of my mind, on the other side, the
nonlogical side; you know when a person is around that many
years you think they are never going to pass away. I miss
her, but what I'm struggling with is how bizarre the human
mind is that I actually had convinced myself that she was
never going to go. It's never easy to say good-bye.
I know we serve a loving God. I'm convinced of it. I look back at my own
past, my own life, and I know that all things work together
for good. They truly do. God also uses your past pain. How
do you see God? Do you see Him as a punishing angry judgmental
God? I hope not. If you do, you can replace your thoughts
with love. Read daily affirmations. Read some of the Bible
verses I quoted. Go through the Bible. Outline them. Put
them on a separate card. Carry them with you in your car.
Jesus was the ultimate re-framer. Jesus was dying on a cross
between two thieves. And you know what some of His last
words were? Let me remind you. "Forgive them Father,
for they don't know what they're doing." He was the
ultimate re-framer. Jesus will help you reframe your thoughts
of yourself, your thoughts of others and your thoughts of
God. Repent. The kingdom of God is here today.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the many blessings, and also the
struggles You've shown me through life. Lord, I pray for
each and every person reading this, that You would continue
to show them the way of love, that You would reframe their
thinking, that You would reframe them through the power
of Your cross. I pray that You would reframe their thinking
of themselves, reframe their thinking of others, and Lord
I mostly pray for them to reframe their thinking of You.
You are a good and loving God. You have a purpose and a
reason for each person. We love You Lord. We praise Your