This past New Year’s Eve, I turned 40. When I end and approach a decade, I like to spend time reflecting on where I can grow.  I look forward to the next decade and the relationships that I will encounter.  There will be many changes for me this upcoming decade as my children will turn into teenagers.  My husband and I will be approaching our 20, 25, and 30 year anniversaries. My parents are approaching retirement age.  And my friendships and colleagues continue to be critical to fulfilling God’s purpose in my life.

So this year I wish to seek how can I better approach my connections with others in grace and love?  In a world that speaks so much about tolerance, what are ways that I can protect myself from being spiritually attacked by others, to live a life free from drama, and to escape foolish behavior? How do we do this while being in the world and not of the world?   How do our relationships cultivate the salt and light in us?

So pray with me that this year as I grow in this study, that God will give me the wisdom and words to share with you in cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in one another. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Dr. Beth Ackerman is the Associate Dean, School of Education, at Liberty University. Learn more about Liberty University here.

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  1. 2 years ago
    sheree says

    Amen awesome article reflecting on relationships! I want to grow more in my grace and love towards others too.

    God Bless.

  2. 2 years ago
    Kathryn says

    Dear Beth,
    This morning in my journaling, God spoke to me about this exact subject…. the fruit of the Spirit. I have also been contumplating good boundries the past couple of weeks, both in ministry and in my personal life, and it seems that these two things go hand in hand somehow. I am so looking forward to what God gives you to share with us, and I WILL be dillegently praying for you! Many blessings, Your sister in Christ, Kathryn

  3. I really appreciate this blog entry Beth. I too turned 40 on January 7th. I thought I would meet the change head on and re-invent myself. I have been married for 17 years and have a 14 yr old Boy, a 13 yr old girl, a 10 yr old boy, and a 6 yr old girl. Life at my house is busy! We also have a dozen pets that keep us on our toes and teach the kids how to be compassionate and care for other living things! I try to blog and have not been faithful about it. But this is going to be one of my commitments in the new decade, as I love to write. I am trying to not only be a good mom and wife, but I am trying to take more time for me. I have been bad about this, as I am confident most mothers are. But in order to keep the disposition I want to have, I need to be diligent about my own journey. I am excited to follow your postings and hope to exchange interesting thoughts along the way. Thanks Beth and GOD BLESS!

  4. It’s interesting that when I wrote this a month or so ago – I had said that “my parents were aging”. And my husband told me to change it to “approaching retirement age”. So right now, as this comes out on the internet, I’m in the waiting area at a hospital as my Dad is undergoing a triple bypass surgery.

  5. 2 years ago
    Cathie Sayre says

    Thank you for this article today. I was thinking of quiting my job because when my boss is under stress she belittles me and turns everything I say into a negative. Since hurricane Sandy business has been down (a lot) and she has had me in tears and feeling empty. We may have had a hand full of positive interactions since then. I have been doing Max Lucados Bible study on Grace this week (why I started it htis week? now I know) and the last few chapters have been on forgiving. It also said that grace does not ignore injustices so pray for me today while I try to improve my relationship with my boss. My plan is not to confront her, but when she says something negative I plan to respond (kindly) with “Jayne I know where you are coming from, I am here to help but you may find you get more with salt than vinegar. (in my case sweets more than salt)” And then I will walk away to avoid a confrontation and see what happens. I am too old (54) to change jobs at this point and there isn’t much out there. SO pray I can salvage this job.

    • 2 years ago
      Cathie Sayre says

      When I got to work, the Lord nugged me to speak to her before anyone came into the store. I started with “I love you as a sister (and hugged her) and no where you are at right now, but since Sandy….” She said yes she can be condesending (sp) and agreed to try harder. She says she can’t lose me. She actually listened to me and did not interrupt. When we were done I saw a lapel angel in the wrong place and went to put it back. As Frank Sinatra sang “Here to watch over you” I looked at the pin and it was titled “Here to watch over you.” God is so good.

  6. Thank you for this! I am going through something very similar….Your words are expressed beautifully!