A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Perfect Marriage

The topic of conversation I hear being talked about/chatted about the most is marriage. How do you get him to do what you want? Does he ever figure out that when I’m talking about the problems in my day, I just may not want to hear his solution? Why can’t he put his dirty socks in the clothes hamper? Does he not know how to carry his dirty dishes and trash to the kitchen himself? I’m sure I’m leaving some out, and I bet you can tell that some of the above questions are ones I’ve asked myself over the years. Well guess what ladies, I hate to tell you this but….there is no perfect man living on this earth now who is going to do everything we think we want him to do. Guess what? It’s okay, because I’m not perfect either and neither are you; somewhere along the way we all fall short.
In fact, I bet my sweetheart could produce a list of why questions too. Why does she have to wait for at least three loads of clothes to pile up before doing laundry? Why not fold those clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer? Why can’t a good, hot supper be ready to eat and on the table when I get home? Why can’t she give me at least 20 minutes of peace before talking my ear off. Do you see how it goes? Neither one of us is perfect, in fact, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re going to fail a lot. Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, So, what do we do and how do we go about fixing it the way God wants us to?
The first thing we must remember is we did not marry our sweetheart to change him. If you did, then you need to decide right now that you are going to be content with the decision you made and be happy. 1Ti 6:11-12 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. A very wise man once told me to put my claws away and pour on the honey. If there is something that you see that needs to change in your husbands life, then pray about it and above all DO NOT nag him. The fastest way to turn him off is to nag. If you read through Proverbs, Solomon mentions that a nagging wife is like a dripping faucet and that it is better to dwell on the housetop than inside with a contentious woman. The only time a woman can change a man is when he’s in diapers. Any other time, it’s his decision to make.
The blessing that comes with the above is the promise given in scripture. 1Pe 3:1-2 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. I don’t believe this scripture is referring to fearing your husband, but the reverent fear we are to have for God. If you go about your business with joy in your heart, then you without ever having to nag your sweetheart can help him to see that he wants more for himself. It maybe that you ask someone you know he respects greatly to talk with him, but if you do this decide that you don’t have to know what was said. So many of the difficulties that come with the first several years of marriage have everything to do with insecurity and jealousy. Ladies, we have to realize that God made men visual creatures and with the way this world works, its not an easy place for them. (This does not excuse sin but it is something we must be aware of and ready to take into account.) If your sweetheart becomes a little more possessive during those first years of marriage, realize that he loves you and he may be wondering why you chose him and if you are working outside the home or in school he may be dealing with some fear that you will find someone you like better.
It is extremely important for you to build his ego, but not do so flippantly. When you offer a compliment make sure that it is sincere and comes from the heart. If you constantly handout meaningless compliments, he will not know when you really appreciate something he has done. That being said, you can find something to thank him for and show your appreciation for everyday. We all like to receive compliments and behavior that receives a compliment will be repeated. If you’re wise you’ll learn this early on and maybe just maybe it won’t take as long to settle into a nice healthy routine.
Are you ready for this one?…Your husband is no more a mind reader than you are. I know it’s hard to believe. I mean when you read all those romance novels somehow that fella just automatically knows just what to say and do to make everything just right at anytime. This covers everything from how you cook meals and fold clothes to just what turns you on in the bedroom. He can’t read your mind anymore than you can read his. 1Pe 3:7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. This can be very hard when you’ve been raised in a home where such matters were spoken of in whispers and behind closed doors. However, if you want to fully enjoy the marital relationship as God intends then you’ve got to find a way to communicate. If you can’t bring yourself to talk out loud, then right him a letter. It may be that you have to say let me show you and vice versa. My sweetheart and I have been married for 23 years now and we are more comfortable with each other now than we have ever been. The biggest reason is we have finally come to the realization that we must tell each other what we like. From sitting on the couch holding hands to what goes on in our bedroom behind closed doors.
One of the most precious memories, I have of our wedding night was our praying for God to help us figure out the process without hurting one another. There are no words to explain how special that moment was, and how thankful I was that we hadn’t totally blown all our innonce in the back of his car while we were dating. You are going to make mistakes, you’re human and that’s life. The big deal is to take the “D” word out of your vocabulary. If you don’t give yourself the option to quit, then you can tie a knot and hang on during the rough times.
My final piece of advice is loving someone will hurt. You can’t open your heart and soul up to another person and not get hurt. Once again, we must remember that none of us are perfect. I have made just as many if not more mistakes as my sweetheart. Even when your heart is torn open and bleeding, take the time to ask questions. Don’t assume the worst and be ready to forgive if it’s at all possible. Mat 5:32 "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. The only time you can divorce and remarry with God’s blessing is when your spouse has committed adultery. Many couples have been able to stay together after one has committed adultery. Trust can be a hard thing to win back but when forgiveness is offered and the love is there then much good can still come from the relationship for each other and for God.
I guess the biggest reason for writing this blog, is I’ve watched many couples who I never thought would separate end their marriages. Many times the reason they’ve given is we just don’t love each other any more. Well, I have to say that answer bothers me a lot! Love isn’t some passing emotion that just happens, it’s a decision that you make every day. You decide, “I’m going to love him today.” Guess what, you’re going to have days and maybe even weeks when you really don’t like him…and he will have times that he can say the same of you. But you MUST decide that no matter what happens today, I will love him, because I chose him and I promised God I’d love him for a lifetime. All those sweet, melty feelings they hang around. I absolutely love the silver that is coming in my sweethearts hair and his eyes…well if you’ve read my blogs you know they still give me butterflies…and we won’t even talk about how good he looks in a pair of jeans with his fiddle in his hand. See 23 years in and all those things still get me going, and the amazing thing is even with the weight and all the changes from the meds and the headache my sweetheart still only wants me too. So life is good. No, we don’t have the perfect marriage, but it’s one I’m thankful for and wouldn’t want to do without.
In the morning, Lord willing, we’ll sit together at church and we’ll focus our minds on the perfect marriage of Christ and the Church. We’ll remember the sacrifices he made for it and the home He’s preparing for her. In fact, we’re anxiously awaiting his return, when He calls his Bride to Him.
Eph 5:23-29 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

May you have a blessed Lord’s day, and may we remember that only one perfect man walked this earth and He is now reigning in Heaven with the Father. May we strive to be the best Christian wives we can be, and may we search out the positive in our husbands and our children and encourage them to live a life of joy in the kingdom.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How We Greive As a Couple

**This blog gives some background on how my sweetheart and I have dealt with the different types of losses we've dealt with during our marriage with a special emphasis on the loss of my sister and cousin along with the "Samantha" before the headache.**

Over the last 23 years, my sweetheart and I have had lots of ups and downs. We chose to do things the hard way. We got married 6 days after I turned 18. We left from our honeymoon with a phone number of a couple we’d never seen or talked to before with hopes of a place to stay, but my love knew that at the end of the week, we’d at least have the first month’s rent for a home that we had yet to find. We were young, in love, and determined to prove we could leave home and survive. These are good memories now and we learned to depend on God and each other along with the love of other sweet brothers and sisters who had walked similar paths.
The learning to depend on each other has been vital to our survival. (Mat 19:4-6 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.") Only putting God before each has been more important. Financial struggles have always been apart of our lives. We are “used” to those. It’s but so long as you are healthy and you know that you can use some talent God has given you to stretch things just a little further then you’re good to go. But what happens when all of a sudden your sweetheart, your knight, at the age of 27 begins to deal with heart attack like symptoms, and he can’t get a full breath. You sit in the ER and in doctor’s office after doctor’s office, tests are ordered and run and yet…there’s no real answer.
So you watch your knight, the man with an iron will come face to face with his mortality. You begin to wonder why us? You want to help and fix it, but there’s nothing to do but pray. Oh, how very powerful prayer is, yet there are times when it can make you feel helpless. Especially when you’re 24 and your faith is still young. So you become angry, and he pulls away…and you sit in the back of the building on singing night alone and cry. (Psalms56:8 You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?) Thank you God for sending your servants to help us in times of turmoil. One of the ladies sat beside me and asked about my sweetheart, and she said she’d pray for us. I know she did and others too because my sweetheart made a full recovery…not even the heart specialist now at the age of 44 can hear the slosh of the mitral valve that was a small part of what he dealt with. (James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.)
From there we went on to deal with a major health crisis for me and a financial setback. It was as if God was giving us a training ground for the really hard days ahead. We did better this time, we asked others to pray with and for us. We talked more about how each felt. Maybe it was easier because we’ve learned that when my sweetheart grieves he needs to be busy. So he stayed busy taking care of me. We also learned the value of relaxation exercises and meditation. Once again, we were very blessed and I made a complete recovery. I missed a semester of teaching, yet God placed me in a school in the county we lived in and though the first year I moved from room to room, I had a job.
It was January of ’98 when we got “the” call in the middle of the night. It was the one, where my sweetheart said, your mom said we need to come home and I don’t know what happened but it’s bad and we need to go. So we threw on some clothes, put a few things in a bag and headed from Millbrook to BayMinette. When we reached Evergreen, we called the house and got Daddy and the news that my sister and cousin had been killed by drunk driver on their way home from Mobile. We made phone calls to people at church, so they would know where we were and then the shock began to wear off and we cried and cried and cried. My love pulled over until he could see to drive and we made it home. No parent should have to deal with what mama and daddy did, it’s my prayer that you never have to hold your mama and daddy as they weep the loss of one of their babies, to never hear them say, I’m sorry, as you hold them. Praise God, for the strength He gives us as we mourn the loss of those taken from us; without it we would fall.(Psa 86:15-16 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your maidservant)
After that, it seemed to get easier, we got busy taking care of mama and daddy. My sweetheart stayed with daddy every step of the way that he wasn’t with mama, and I stayed with mama or delegated out directions to my brother and baby sister. Looking back, I was probably too bossy, but I was determined that no one was going to say or do anything harder for her. There were some rough times during those days, but we took care of people. We’ve found that’s one of the ways we deal with grief as a couple.
If you’ll bear with me I’m going to fast forward some. Our weekends were spent in Bay Minette. This allowed Daddy to work his weekend job without Mama being home by herself, and my sweetheart was remodeling Mama’s kitchen. It was almost like we had moved back home, we were very busy. The “baby” graduated from high school, my brother got married, and we bought a house.
After that came the 24/7 migraine that I’m still dealing with everyday. Yes, there’s grief that comes for the Samantha that used to be. The things I was able to do, plans made, foods eaten, and activities enjoyed. We also had to come to terms with the fact that we would not have any biological children of our own. We had always planned for a large family with 2 or 3 biological children and then many more adopted and foster children. We had even sketched the house and the bedrooms with the built-in study nooks and game room. We grieved the loss of the dream. This time, we went about it differently. My sweetheart became very involved in his martial arts, his music, and some cycling. I dealt with the pain, school, and became very fixated on beginning the paperwork process for adoption. It was time and I felt it was an urgent to begin. I also began going to visit the sick and shut-ins with a friend from church one night a week. So once again, we got busy…we just didn’t always see a lot of one another.
Grief is something that everyone deals with differently. There is no right or wrong way and there is no specified period of time that is either too short or too long. We can know our heavenly Father cares and that it does not bring Him joy when we grieve. 2Ki 20:5 "Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD." I do have some recommendations I’d like to make. (Disclaimer: I am just an ordinary person without a degree in counseling. I believe that counseling is good and if you find yourself in a place that you need help with then see a counselor that is a member of the church, so you will be guided by Biblical principles.)
1) Find someone who will sit and listen, hold you, or your hand when grief begins to feel like an ocean wave that will pull you under. Just like the child at the beach, the parent’s hand will bring them to safety. So can having someone else willing to just be there as you mourn and weep, it will give you the comfort and ability to deal with the emotions that are too scary to deal with alone. Just knowing that someone is there and willing to help you hold on can allow you to let go and deal with the emotions that you feel would drown you alone.
2) Find things that make you laugh. Find a friend and share corny jokes with them. Find music that brightens your day and listen to it.Pro 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.
3) It’s o.k. to deal with your grief a little bit at a time. Take out a small memory deal with that and then be ready to move on.
4) Above all, spend time in prayer and study. The devil loves to get us when we are weak. He will take advantage of any opportunity to bring us down. 1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. When you can’t pray for yourself, ask someone else too. There are times when our hearts are so full of grief (and sometimes anger) that we just don’t feel that we can pray for ourselves. When you feel that way, ask someone to pray for you. Jam 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
I deal with my grief on a daily basis. Some days, it’s the grief that comes from the restrictions placed on my life by the headache. Some days, it’s the missing of my sister and cousin and the fun we had growing up. The sitting around sharing the stories of do you remember when we…, There are many “adventures” the three of went on as children that no one remembers but me now, and that’s hard. Some days, it’s the grief we have as a family that we would have liked to have had siblings for my sweet boy so he would have stories to tell. But above all, I know that no matter what happens this life is temporary and the place to which we are going is so much better that I can be homesick for a place I’ve never seen. Our God is good and He wants good things for His children. We just have to be patient and follow His lead.

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Does Loves Look Like?

I may not know how to define it,
But I sure do know when I see it.
You see there really is no doubt,
When you are out and about
Just when you’ve seen some LOVE.

I saw IT today, as my little man started his,
Still warm and groggy from bed,
His “Morning, Mom“, as he plopped down beside me,
Said so much more than hi,
You betcha, I saw LOVE today.

I saw IT, as my sweetheart came through the door,
Hot and tired and covered with sweat, yet waiting,
To hear a little man, yell, "Daddy's home" and be attacked.
He cooled off a bit and picked up my list... to grocery shop for us.
Did I see LOVE today? Oh, YES in the very best way!

I saw IT again, as we went to comfort a friend,
And we watched as he comforted his family.
While they were hurting, he got on his knees,
And he helped them their hurt to grieve.
Oh yes, I saw LOVE today.

I saw IT when two sweet silver heads,
Bowed their heads in prayer with clasped hands,
And heads pulled near, a tear on each cheek,
As they prayed for a young couple just beginning their journey.
It’s beautiful to watch LOVE this way.

I saw IT on the face of an anxious groom,
Waiting to see his bride,
I saw IT on Daddy’s as he gave her away,
And the bride was a glow with IT too.
I saw LOVE just beginning - all brand new.

I saw IT as a young lady makes a hard choice,
Her heart open and bleeding, but wanting much more,
Not more for herself, but for the wee babe,
She’s learned she’s going to have, she’s chosen life
YES, I see LOVE, sometime’s its hard here.

I see IT again, a couple with arms longing to be full,
Their hearts breaking because it just doesn’t seem to be,
They hold each other close, here IT is again,
And they pray for strength and comfort and grace.
Here’s LOVE again filled with tears and just a dash of hope.

The young woman has chosen a family for her wee babe,
The couple with arms longing to be filled are waiting just for that,
I see, IT, as she labors…and as they pace the floor.
Sweet baby make your entrance here, OH you shall see IT too!
I see LOVE as Birthmother gives Mama and Daddy baby.

I see IT when friendship is offered,
Not without having to prove one’s self,
But simply because a friend is needed.
I see IT when children smile and run and play and sing.
This is LOVE that sets apart the pure of heart.

If I look back into the past, I can see IT once again,
On a Hill where three crosses stood, and Christ bore all my sin.
I see IT in every stripe, in every ragged breath,
The pain the Son of God endured was to help me see,
That while I think IT might be easy, His is LOVE perfected.

Gal. 6:14 "May I not boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."