Tag Archives: love

Jesus is Risen!

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“He is not here; He has risen, just like He said.”  ~  Matthew 28:6

The resurrection of Jesus was prophesied by the prophets of old, but for those alive at the time of its fulfillment, it seemingly took everyone by surprise.

First of all, Jesus didn’t exactly meet their expectations of how he would enter into humanity’s realm.  Following this pattern, his death certainly did not come as they imagined it might unfold.  But it occurred nonetheless…  On God’s terms and meeting heaven’s demands that the sinless Lamb of God would take on the sin of mankind, taking our place on that cruel Cross so that you and I could spend eternity with Him.  Jesus bridged the gap that sin created and that you and I could never repay.  He paid for our ransom!

I am so grateful that God had a plan of redemption!  What love the Father has for us!

Isn’t it wonderful that God’s plan didn’t end on the Cross of Calvary?!

No, death would not have its final say.  Not this time.  For despite the humanity Jesus bore, residing on the inside of Him was Resurrection Power this world had never known!!

“Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes!  He arose!  Hallelujah, Christ arose!”

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, death was defeated and sin’s curse was broken.  Now, we are free to choose to accept this precious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

“I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father but by me.”  ~ John 14:6

Happy Resurrection Day!  Jesus is alive!

 

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The Immutability of God

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Now what does that exactly mean?  Immutable means: fixed, set, established, doesn’t change, constant, static, enduring, permanent.  I love this!

God’s unchanging nature has always been one of the most precious qualities to me.  He will not change.  He isn’t loving today and hateful tomorrow.  He doesn’t forgive me today and hold a grudge tomorrow.  He isn’t kind today and evil tomorrow.  He cannot change.  It isn’t in His divine nature, friend.  Isn’t that comforting to know?

The Bible says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.”  Psalm 103:8

Verse 17 goes on to say, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting…”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” ~ James 1:17

Psalm 107:1 says, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.”

Verses 8 and 9 say, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!  For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

That’s the character of the God I serve.  He is good.  He is merciful.  He is just.

 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” ~ I John 4:7-8

He is loving.

These Scriptures demonstrate and reveal to us the unchanging character of God.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and for ever.”  ~ Hebrews 13:8

He will not change.  He cannot change.

He has loved us with an everlasting love.  (Jeremiah 31:3)

When my circumstances change, my God doesn’t.  When my seasons change, God remains constant.  When my bank account changes or my relationships change, God is steadfast.  Unmovable in His love and grace for my life.

“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”  ~ Psalm 18:1-2

I challenge you today, friend, to dig into the Word of God and see for yourself the character of God.  “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”  (Psalm 34:8)  Do not neglect the Scriptures because the task seems tedious.  Our lives can become so hectic and fast paced that we lose sight of the true source of our strength.  Get into the habit of daily reading the Word of God and not merely checking off a reading list.  God is more interested in your spiritual growth than how many chapters you’re rushing through each day.  Read His love story to us and watch your spirit soar and your walk with Christ grow in ways you never knew were possible!

Blessings, my friend!  May we continually grow in His grace.  And may you be reminded of God’s constant character and steadfast love.

 

 

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I did 20 Years…and so did he

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A rather persistent, mutual friend insisted that I meet “this guy” that would be just perfect for me.  I brushed her off a couple times as I’d recently come out of a hurtful relationship and besides I preferred things to happen naturally.  Nonetheless, I humored her and agreed that she could give “this guy” my phone number.

He called and in a matter of a few conversations, we fell in love.  We had many subsequent, lengthy phone calls in the evenings after work.  Each of us couldn’t wait for the next time we could speak!  I agreed to attend a Christian concert with him and some other mutual friends.  After the concert, we all went out to eat.  I was starving.  Literally, I could hear the acids in my stomach raging but I was too nervous to eat.  I opted just to have a Coke and upon “this guy’s” insistence, a few of his fries.  I was so hungry, yet I wouldn’t eat.  Ah, young love.  Well, we talked all night and our love story was sealed that June evening.

We were engaged on Christmas Day and married the following June, 20 years ago.

What is the secret of staying married until death do you part?

I like the quote I’ve seen around, “We were born in a time when divorce was not an option.”

or this one:

“I was born in a time when if something was broken, you fixed it.”

There’s something to those sayings.  It’s called removing the option of giving up, of throwing in the proverbial towel, and pushing up your sleeves and working on it.  A little elbow grease.  Effort.

Marriage is hard work.

There are no two ways around it.  But did you ever have a relationship that wasn’t?  We are all enshrined in this flesh called humanity, and as such, we have tendencies of failure.  We also have huge capacities to love.

And in my Bible it says that love conquers all.

Love hopes.  Love keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not boast.  Love places the other before self.

That’s what love looks like.

Yes, love is hugs, kisses and all the physical trappings that accompany the marriage relationship and make it one of the most beautiful unions.

Sometimes life requires more than mere hugs and kisses.

Sometimes it demands forgiveness, forbearance, time, selflessness.

The demands of family, work, finances can be absolutely draining.  And sometimes one can feel like you have nothing left to give.  There are certainly seasons like that, especially when the kids are young.

We are happily at the stage now where our kids are nearly grown.  The two younger ones at home are 16 and 18.  Our oldest left home quite a few years ago and is 27.  So, the physical demands on us are fewer than they were years ago.  But during the years of great demand, that’s when dating your spouse really is important.  Carving out “couple time” is crucial to staying on the same page emotionally.

Twenty years now.  This June it will be 21 years!  God sure has been faithful to us.  We’ve weathered some fierce storms, times when throwing in the towel sure had its appeal.  If we succumbed to giving up, we would have forfeited the most precious love we share today.

When we were newlyweds, our euphoric love seemed incredible – like Fourth of July fireworks!  We thought it couldn’t get any better than this!  We were so young and naive.  Weathering the storms of life together creates an undeniable bond and deeper love than one could have imagined.

Am I thankful for the storms?  Well, maybe I am.  Strange as that sounds.  Without them, I would not have seen the sweet expression of love and care when my husband has brought me soup when I’ve been ill.  Without the challenges, we wouldn’t realize how desperately we needed one another.  Without the adversities, we would not know the grace and mercy of God as displayed through the other.

You know, friends, when we love our spouses, we are honoring God.  And when God is honored, there are blessings!

One of the most meaningful things my husband and I do together is pray.  When our hearts are overwhelmed, we invoke God’s presence and power into our lives.  When our hearts are full of thankfulness and joy, we express that, too, in prayer.  God is such a vital part of our relationship and He has always been.  I encourage you to pray with your spouse if possible.  God truly honors the unity of prayer.

Not only that, but I believe there is power in prayer.  Sometimes the most spiritual prayer is – “Help!”   God is close to the brokenhearted, my friend.

My husband and I are testaments of God’s grace and His power at work in our hearts.  The beauty of being married for a while is that before long, you know the other’s heart.  My husband knows what I will and will not do and vice versa.  Our hearts trust the other.

So, love begets trust.  And like a garden.  If left untilled, weeds will grow.  Don’t neglect your most precious relationship.

The grass is not greener on the other side.  There are weeds over there.  Till your own garden and your marriage will flourish.

What you invest in, you will reap the harvest.  Invest well.

 

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Merriest of Christmases to You!

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“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor,

                                      Mighty God,
                                                          Everlasting Father,

                                                                                                Prince of Peace.”    

                                                                                                                                      ~ Isaiah 9:6

Just wanted to pop in real quick to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

What makes a Merry Christmas?  What are the prime ingredients?

Is it the presents wrapped with beautiful paper and tied with elegant bows?  Is it found in owning the latest in technology?  Or can it be found under the Christmas tree at all?

I have received my Christmas gift already but it wasn’t wrapped or nestled under the glowing lights.

The greatest gift of all is found in knowing the love that God so extravagantly displayed in sending His one and only Son into this depraved world so that He would grow into a man, who would take our sins away and put us in right relationship with the Father.

That is the message of the Gospel.

It isn’t complicated.  It is simple.  God loved.  God gave.

It is up to us whether or not to receive such a priceless gift, the gift of spending eternity with God.

It’s just that simple.

Man tends to complicate matters, but the message of the Bible remains unchanged, unaltered throughout the ages.  It’s the message that you are a valuable soul and God loves you too much to spend eternity apart!

Won’t you accept Him today?

If you already have, then you have all that is necessary to have the Merriest of Christmases!  Jesus, the perfect Gift!

To top it off, on a personal note…

Our family has sold our house and recently moved 1,000 miles to be near our grown son.  We could not be happier to be spending our first Christmas together in the same area.  (More on our big move to come…)

To all my WP friends, new or old, here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year in 2015!

“And, now my brothers, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.”  ~ III John 2

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Our House Selling Saga

Hello there, friends!  As previously mentioned, my husband got the job we prayed for and we’re now two months into the process of selling our home!  Praise the Lord for the job and answered prayer!!  Hubby began his new job six weeks ago and being separated by 1,000 miles has been strenuous to say the least!  He visited three weeks ago and I flew to visit him (and retrieve our other car) two weeks ago.  Our beloved 12 year old SUV decided now was a good time to die!  *Sigh*  Fortunately, hubby didn’t need the car he drove to our new town as he has another vehicle.

We’ve had a lot of showings over the last two months, although some slow spots in between.  The real estate market tends to be slow this time of year, but we are resting in God’s hands.  We’re very happy that we have TWO showings scheduled for this evening!!  If you would, please pray that someone will fall madly in love with our home and make a solid offer!  What would be truly awesome is, if there was a bidding war!!  🙂

We’ve lowered our price twice now and are offering a $2,000 buyer’s agent incentive.  I think that incentive is largely the reason for the sudden interest.  Whatever the case may be, we are grateful!  The kids and I are ready to begin our new life 1,000 miles away and be reunited with my husband!  We’ve been married for 19 years and this is certainly the longest period we’ve ever been apart.  It is a strain on all of us.  I know the kids really miss their dad too.  The first month, I cried just about every night as it was completely foreign to be alone in our king size bed.  Although we are very thankful for Skype and cell phones, there is no replacement for the huge void that spans such a distance.  Now, I don’t cry, but I am ready to move onto our next chapter and settle in.

Preparing the house for showings is much like a dog chasing its tail!  We do the same actions — again and again!  And, then wake up the next day… and do them yet again!  It would be simple if we did not live here.  The house would simply always be ready for the next showing!  But, somewhere amongst the madness of selling our home, my children are plugging along in 9th and 12 grades!!  They’ve been absolutely wonderful throughout this process!  My daughter, who’s a senior this year, makes sure we are all duly fed.  She’s the chef, most days!  And my son has had a fast course in operating our John Deere riding lawnmower and has done an outstanding job maintaining the yard!  He mows, trims and blows the unending leaves off the driveway and sidewalk!  The John Deere is my husband’s baby, so it’s been interesting to see him hand over the reins to our son.  (only because he had to! haha)  I have to say, our son blows it off each time he mows and even wipes it with a cloth.  He says it’s like his first car!  🙂  Precious.  My husband has told him a number of times, “Now, son, you’re the man of the house while I’m gone.  Take care of mom and your sister.  Make sure the doors are locked and the alarm set.”  🙂  My 15 year old (now suddenly very mature) son has taken his marching orders very seriously and has been wonderful!  He’s been taller than me for a while, which isn’t hard to do, considering my 5’4″ stature.  But, he’s pushing 6′ very soon, I can tell!  He has really grown over the last six months and is about 5’11” probably now.  Considering he started out at 9lbs. 10oz. and 22 1/2 inches long, it’s not surprising at all!  🙂  Our 26 year old son stands at 6’2″ and I’m afraid it may injure his ego to know his little brother may surpass him in height before it’s all over.  🙂

… Pardon me, I just received a text from my husband, wishing me a great day, complete with heart symbols.  (only because when he types “I love you”, his phone prompts the emoticons! haha)  I have to laugh because my husband is a very hard worker, very diligent.  He really doesn’t have time for trivial things.  He’s not on social media and up until six weeks ago, he didn’t have a Smartphone for personal use.  So, he’s had a crash course and I helped him set up his address book, etc. on his new toy.  But, it’s been nice to text back and forth as we’ve never done that much in the past.  🙂  Feels like we’ve reverted back to our courting days with all the phone calls and wishing we could be together!

I can honestly say, our faith has grown as the Lord has truly been stretching us!  My perspective has changed on our relationship.  When you can step back for a minute … or six weeks … you see what’s really important in life, in your relationship, and what things you need to let go of, as well as things you want to change moving forward!  Perspective is a beautiful thing!  And, so the Lord has been teaching me that He is not confined to statistics nor seasons, but can perform miracles any time He so chooses!  Statistically, this is a dreadful time of year to be selling a house and the weather is turning colder now.  But, He’s been reminding me to take Him out of the box that I’ve put Him in, remove the limitations my little faith has placed on Him, and just believe that He is able to provide for us and show Himself strong and mighty on our behalf!  For He truly is working all things together for our good and ultimately for His glory!  That’s where I rest my faith!

If you would, would you agree with me in prayer that our house will sell very soon?  During this separation, I am made keenly aware of just how precious my husband is to me.  Perfect?  No.  Precious and priceless?  Yes!  He gets on my nerves.  Yes.  I’m sure I do too.  But, far above any trivial irritations in our relationship, he remains my best friend, my lover and one of the greatest gifts God ever saw fit to bless me with!  He is diligent, tenacious, loving, caring, generous, thoughtful, loves Jesus and serving others … and invaluable to me!  On our wedding day, we were so in love and one would tend to believe that it doesn’t get any better than that!  However, the longer we’re married and the more we’ve grown and experienced life together, I can honestly say our love becomes deeper and richer for it!  God knew what He was doing when He ordained marriage to be a lifelong committment.  Somehow I think our richest and most meaningful days are yet ahead…

Sorry to make this post so long.  If you’ve held on to the end and your eyes haven’t glazed over, thank you.  And thank you for your prayers, most of all.  There’s a testimony after the test, folks!  God is good and He is ever faithful that promised!

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Sibling Reunion

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The four of us live in four different states … and one of us lives 3,000 miles from the other three.  So, getting us together is no small feat!  But, we generally make valiant efforts to have a little reunion every couple years and this past week was no exception.  The last two left this morning before I awoke.  We said our good-byes last night and I had to leave the room before I began crying.  Hate good-byes!  Fortunately, we do stay close via technology.  I know our dad was glad to have his three daughters and son together again.

The party was at my house so each night we brought my dad over and we enjoyed my brother’s cooking.  Last night dinner was on me and I cooked chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, green beans and left over garlic bread.  Yum!  We made “Dream Cake” the other night with angel food cake, cream cheese and cherry topping, just like our mom used to make.  Ah, memories!

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We took a quick trip down to the cemetery where our mom is buried and visited some cousins who live nearby.  That was an exhausting but fun trip!  Let’s just say some of us siblings like to get up earlier than others …

We came across some old letters at our dad’s house, some that our mom had written to my brother when he was in boot camp way back in 1981, some I’d written also.  We all enjoyed reading those and made copies so we’d each have those to cherish.  Mom’s letters were filled with family news.  My older sister was soon to be married, my younger sister was a straight A student and then, there was me…Well, she’s not doing quite as well.  Haha.  But I was excited about my upcoming 12th birthday slumber party!  Yup, that was me — Social Butterfly!  I had certain priorities, okay?!

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The last week was filled with almost nightly Scrabble games, lots of laughter, sharing family updates, teasing, cooking, eating, passing the M&M’s and photo sessions … That’s about the gist of the last week!  We are each so unique and I always thought of us as being so different.  How did we wind up in the same family, born to the same set of parents?  But, this time together, I could see how similar we are too.  We each are stubborn – that is pretty common knowledge.  But, we each are neatniks and have fairly Type A personalities.  I’d like to think of us all as being highly intelligent too.  The most satisfying and gratifying common trait we share is that we each have our sights on heaven and a strong relationship with our Heavenly Father.  That is what matters most.  We wouldn’t want the party to end here on earth afterall!  No, we want to spend eternity together and join our mother and other loved ones in heaven!

Love my siblings!

 

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Ministry Opportunities Abound

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As Christians we often pray for the Lord to use us to reach the lost and to bless others, but I’m afraid sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees.  Too often we think ministry is something that only occurs within the confines of a church building.  Nothing could be further from reality, however.  This world is full of so many practical needs.  If each one of us met just one of those needs today, wouldn’t this world be a better place because of it?

My father is 77 years old, and, as many of you already know, I’m very involved with his medical care, etc.  He has a friend, who is about my age, who has adopted my dad as a ministry opportunity.  My dad volunteers five days a week at his church and has for the last thirty-one years.  This gentleman often gives him a ride home, despite the fact that it’s entirely out of his way to do so.  Last week was his first week returning to volunteer work post hospitalization in March.  They went to lunch and he even offered to take him grocery shopping.  Apparently, he declined as he didn’t have his shopping list with him.  *Sigh*

I recently was pondering this “adoption” of sorts and, although I do not know a whole lot about this friend, I know a bit.  I’ve heard him say that he grew up without a father.  He’s also mentioned that his “spiritual father”, another older gentlemen, recently went to be with the Lord.  And, so he has now broadened his outreach to my dad, which I greatly appreciate, especially during this season of recovery for my family!  I find it interesting that sometimes our ministry “bent” is birthed out of a deep need within ourselves.  While he is being a vessel of the Lord, the Lord is also using the ministry to bring healing and wholeness to him.  Interesting, isn’t it?  Of course, I’m sure his motive is not purely to receive.  It just happens to be a by-product of God’s grace.

My father’s needs are many.  He doesn’t drive, so I take him to medical appointments, pick up prescriptions, the barber and grocery shopping, etc.  I wash his clothes.  I help him make all sorts of decisions.  My father is one in a sea of the older generation.  So many needs just to carry on with everyday life.  There are millions just like my father who could use help on a daily basis or even just a listening ear.  Most of the telephone conversations my dad and I share are close to an hour long.  He usually has a lot to say since our last chat.  He has to tell me what’s going on at the church, although lately he’s been most concerned about our family’s health.  So, he’s asked everyone he comes in contact with to pray for us, which is very thoughtful and kind.  He has so many churches praying for us and I know God is answering!

My dad lives alone and I’m a large slice of his world, I realize.  Sometimes this part of his world gets tired and my ears get droopy, but it’s then I realize one day, I’ll wish I could hear him drone on one more time.  I’ll long for our lengthy conversations about this and that, long to take him grocery shopping one more time as he slowly and carefully selects chocolate chip cookies or frozen dinners.  Life is made up of all the little things … little, monotonous, trite details that can easily distract us from the larger picture.  We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to be a blessing in whatever situation, vocation and location the Lord places us in.

Perhaps there is someone in your world who is in need.  None of us need look very far …

“Oh, to be His hands extended, reaching out to the oppressed.  Let me touch Him; let me touch Jesus; that others may know and be blessed.”

 

 

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Marriage: 3 Things I Wish I Learned Early On

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My wonderful husband and I will celebrate nineteen years of marriage next month and I’ve often pondered things I wish I learned sooner.  Time and experience are often our greatest teachers, but what if we could learn from the mistakes of others?  Wouldn’t that be the desired route?  Here are three things I wish I’d figured out as a 25 year old newlywed:

  1. Your marriage won’t be perfect.  Don’t compare your relationship to your friends’s marriages.  (You don’t know what happens when Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful aren’t on their P’s and Q’s) We are all unique and as such have our own set of challenges to overcome.
  2. You don’t hold the power to change your spouse.  Only God and prayer can do that.  Work on you.  Lay any expectations at the foot of the Cross.
  3. Overlook the petty grievances (i.e. socks and underwear on the floor, dividing up the housework, etc.) and focus more so on the big picture.

I can recall many challenging years as my husband worked long hours and the demands of raising small children coincided.  I was tired.  He was tired.  I think a big challenge in any phase of our lives is the fallacy of thinking that things will always remain this way.  Life changes.  Our kids are no longer toddlers.  They’re nearly all grown.  Our relationship has become rich and full, our love deeper than ever.  You see, the storms of life and the good times, as well, have both served to enrich our love and commitment to one another.

Too often spouses are ready to jump ship almost before it has left the harbor!  Hold on.  Remain steady.  The waters will be rough during the course, but you will be stronger for it.  You are not perfect nor is your spouse.  Expect imperfection and you will not be disappointed, my friend.  Extend grace.  Forgive often.  Love extravagantly.

The best things in life take time.  Marriage is not a sprint.  It’s more like a long distance marathon.  Pace yourself.  Give your relationship time and your spouse room to grow.  They don’t have life all figured out nor do you.  Make Christ the center of your relationship and He will never fail to guide you.

“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.” ~ I Corinthians 13 MSG

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Grammy & My Best Friend

I’m told that my childhood best friend, Kim, and I met when I was a year and a half old.  Our mothers introduced us and we soon became inseparable.  We made snow angels together.  We waited at the bus stop for elementary school together.  We brushed each other’s hair.  We played with her mother’s Doris Day paper dolls and read Archie comic books.  Later we played Barbie’s and Monopoly and PayDay.  Our favorite t.v. show of all time was The Dukes of Hazzard.  How we had a crush on Bo! Haha!

Kim’s grandparents, Grammy and Grampy, lived just two houses down the street from us and they were almost like my own set of grandparents.

Grammy was a German lady with the most beautiful completely white head of hair.  She was about 5’9″ and was the most classy lady I knew.  She was constantly cleaning or doing laundry, often while listening to the easy listening radio station.  Their house was always peaceful and they treated me like their very own.  I was instantly adopted and I loved it.

When we very little, if it was time for Kim to take her afternoon nap, I took a nap too.  Grammy bathed us and there was a set of green nylon pajamas I borrowed for nap time.  I didn’t care for naps as it wasn’t required at my house, but complied because Grammy said so.

Her spacious finished basement was a kid’s oasis with dress up clothes and satin high heels, large dry erase easel and colorful markers, toy refrigerator, shopping cart and a huge assortment of toy food.  There were many tools for the imagination to run wild and that we did.  Kim and I were secretaries, teachers, moms with baby dolls.  We were rich and famous.  We were married to fabulous guys who adored us.  We were living the imaginary life!  Kim was Grammy’s only grandchild and she was her world.  I counted myself blessed just to be a part of it.

One of my fondest memories was when Grammy would put us up on this old wooden ironing board and washed our hair over the utility sink in the basement.  She would usually wash Kim’s hair first and then it was my turn.  We really got the spa treatment.  I can still smell that Pert shampoo now.  Grammy was a gem, so doting yet she could be very firm too.  Her love was evident through her tender care.  She didn’t have to utter the words.  Her love was tangible and still felt today.

I lost touch with Kim about twenty years ago, but am hoping to reconnect with her at some point.  I learned that Grammy passed away four years ago and Grampy the following year.  My heart was sad to hear that, although they both lived likely into their nineties.  Their lives were full.  Affectionate memories will forever dwell in my heart.  Grammy’s love and tender care for me as a child will never be forgotten.

I used to refer to her home and yard as the “Better Homes and Gardens” of the neighborhood as they took meticulous care of both.  Their home was like a model, always immaculate.  Grammy had the most beautiful red and yellow tulips that were so vibrant each spring.  I adored them.  They remain my very favorite flower to this day.  Equally, Grammy invested tremendous care into her family and her “adopted” granddaughter, me.  I can only thank God for placing Grammy and Kim in my life way back in the 70’s.  They were a huge part of my childhood and sources of great joy.

Grammy, you were a great role model of what it means to be diligent and productive.  Above that, however, the love, time and care you invested in my life is appreciated beyond any words I could articulate.  Thank you for including me in your family.  Your nurturing and warmth are often recalled with fondness.

And, Kim, you and I shared some of our best childhood memories.  Our friendship was one of the best gifts God could have bestowed on me.  We had fun times body surfing the waves at the beach and eating cotton candy on the boardwalk.  We played with our Holly Hobbie play house for hours, shared our dreams and goals, collected lightning bugs in glass jars, played hide-n-seek on endless summer nights, played softball and kickball with the other neighborhood kids for hours, laughed constantly while we swung and played on the teeter totter on the swingset in Grammy’s backyard…Ah, the memories are countless, my dear friend.

How I’d love to catch up on the last twenty years with you, my friend!  …

 

 

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Two Really Good Forgivers

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I saw a quote not long ago that read:

“Marriage is made up of two really good forgivers.”

No truer words were ever spoken, I mused to myself.  My husband and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary this June and we can certainly attest to this.  We’ve shared some thrilling experiences together, but we’ve also endured some pretty fierce trials.  But, that’s life, isn’t it?  God has always been at the helm of this ship called marriage, and with His help, we’ve grown immensely.  I think we’d both agree that it was during the darkest nights that our relationship was strengthened.  When we didn’t have the answers to life’s questions, it was then that we not only cried out to God for help, but also turned to each other for strength.

No genuine, lasting relationship is without opportunity to forgive.  Men and women are so different.  And, we are created to be so.  We view the world differently.  We view our family differently.  We’re just polar opposites.  Sometimes just realizing this can eliminate so many arguments.  Too often, I think, we slip into the mindset that our spouse should view life through identical lenses when God created us to be unique individuals.  This is what keeps life fresh and exciting.  So, instead of warring against our differences, we really must learn to celebrate them!  They are the key components of what attracts our spouse to us to begin with.

The first cousin to forgiveness is humility and this is a godly character trait we must learn to cultivate in our relationships, especially our marriages.  Sometimes it’s difficult to admit fault in a situation, but when we learn to humble ourselves and apologize, we open ourselves to experience grace.  God always rewards a humble attitude and your relationship with your spouse will grow because of it.  When we value our relationship enough to invest humility and forgiveness, it will yield endless returns.

I Corinthians 13 says that love keeps no record of wrongs and we would be wise to adhere to this standard.  It will serve you and your relationship well.  Forgive.  No, it doesn’t let the other person “off the hook”, but it does free you up on the inside and allows God to work in your relationship.  I challenge you today to let it go.  Let it all go.  The petty and trivial stuff, the big stuff…all of the baggage.  Just dump it at the foot of the Cross.  The peace of God will flood your soul and your spirit will be much lighter.  Focus on the big picture.  And pray.  Pray not only for your spouse and changes that you might like to see, but pray for yourself as well.  Ask God to make you the spouse He designed you to be … loving, devoted, forgiving, supportive and one who is sold out for Christ!

 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” ~ Mark 11:25

 

 

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