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Archive for April, 2012

As we prayed together, her tears fell onto our intertwined hands. My heart broke as she uttered desperate words, “Lord, help me.” My precious friend, horribly abused as a child and still suffering its repercussions as an adult, looked up and asked, “Why?”

I don’t know, but God reassures us that pain will not go unanswered, ” [I], God, see the trouble of the afflicted; [I] consider their grief and take it in hand. …[I] am the helper of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14)

The young woman shifted nervously in her the seat; embarrassment and fear apparent in the quaking of her voice . “The baby and I were just evicted and my husband moved to Seattle. Why couldn’t they wait?”

I don’t know,  but be encouraged! God loves those who are in need–spiritually or otherwise. His promise is for you. “[I] rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.” (Psalm 35:10)

Her baby, surrounded by wires and tubes, lay in the small bassinet. His tiny chest bore the mark of an incision. Nothing more could be done. The mother’s words were barely a whisper, “Why my baby?”

I don’t know, but Jesus‘ words assure us, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live,…and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25)

There is so much more waiting for us . His name is Jesus!

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More often than not, my mornings consist of reminders, reprimands, and rushing.  Did you pack your jacket?  Change that attitude, little mister.  If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all.  Then, my children scramble out the of the car–backpacks slung across their tiny shoulders.  I won’t see them again until the sound of the bell sends them rushing out of the building–laughing and ready for a snack.

As I pull away, I’m consumed by “mommy guilt”.  Did I remember to tell them I love them?  Were my words more than just directives or critiques?  Will they know they’re prayed for today?  Did I say anything nice?

There are times the guilt is well-earned.  Sometimes my words fail to build up my children, husband, friends, or even strangers I encounter.  As Proverbs 16:24 reminds us, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb,  sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Tomorrow–whether I’m in the midst of the morning rush, the dinner hour, or the bedtime routine–I’m going to slow down enough to remind those around me of how important they are to me.  I’ll tell them they are a precious gift in this life.

Then, I’ll let the “mommy guilt” go–at least for the day.

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I can imagine the perfect woman for my husband–and she is not me.  Now, I’m not suggesting I would rather Dave be married to someone else.  What I am saying is that if I were his best friend, parent, or sibling I would have expected him to marry someone unlike me.

Dave’s perfect wife  would  eagerly anticipate the next shared hike together, certain she could conquer the ragged terrain of any mountain.  This someone would engage in political debates, enjoy running in marathons, and read Time magazine.

Instead Dave chose a woman who’s afraid of heights, rarely reveals her political affiliation, and prefers a relaxing walk on the beach to the rush of endorphins at the end of a five-mile run.  And my favorite reading material?  Think Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina.  I don’t remember when I read Time last.

But, Dave didn’t want perfect–he wanted me.  And, after all of our years together, he still does.  The remarkable part of all this is Dave is more aware of my flaws, faults, and foibles than during the early years of our marriage.  He sees me clearly.

My dislike for closet doors haphazardly left open?  Dave hears about it regularly.  The temper that flares when we disagree about discipline?  He’s been an object of that anger.  My high-maintenance food ordering habits?  If the avocado is fresh than I’ll have the southwestern burger, if not then I’d like the patty melt with the onion straws on the side but no cheese.  Yes, Dave is aware of this hang-up.  (He says I’m discerning; not picky.)

Despite knowing me as intimately as he does, Dave loves me all the more.  What, then, is principle number three?  Accept your husband for who he is.  You cannot change him.  When you are convinced your husband needs to change, begin praying the Lord will change you.

3 Ways to Demonstrate Acceptance Toward Your Husband

  • Talking Trash–Have you been around a group of women lately?  Don’t join their “My Husband is an Idiot Club”.  Honor him with words of affirmation–even when he isn’t nearby.

             Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others upEphesians 4:29

  • Point of Reference–Extend grace and mercy to the husband you have pledged to love.

             Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. Ephesians 5:21

  • Practically Speaking-  Just put the lid down yourself.  He won’t mind and it will make you happy!

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His gaze locked on what lay ahead, Connor swept past the sidelines.  He seemed oblivious to the crowd and focused on the goal.  “Time!” the official said, as my son burst across the finish line.

This morning I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept–as if I had been in a race, too.  Family life has been a whirlwind this week–complete with visits to the ER, trips to the vet’s office, school concerts, complaints at work, and not much down time.  I’m burned out.  Beat up.  Tired.  Have you been there?  Do life’s ups and downs sometimes chip away at your fortitude?

As I lay on my bed wishing for just thirty more minutes of sleep, the image of Connor running through the rope at the end of those 200 meters flashed into my mind.  I know he’d been weary, but my son persevered–even after a 4:30 a.m. get up, 6:30 a.m. football practice, regular school day and then a 4:30 p.m. track meet.

Instead of complaining, Connor ran the race.  He stayed the course.  He won.

Unknowingly, my son reminded me of the apostle Paul’s words, “1 Cor.24-25You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

26-27I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got.” (The Message)

Today, I’m going to look ahead with my eyes focused on the goal.  I might need to walk when I’m weary, but I’ll get there.  So will you.

Let’t give it everything we’ve got.

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Twenty years before, you would have noticed a simple farmhouse with a large picture window overlooking the fields.  Now all that remains is a blackened trunk sprouting unruly branches–the memorial of a family heritage, a symbol of struggle, and the testimony of living triumphantly.

That scarred tree stands next to a gaping hole, marking the place of my childhood home–a place I loved.  I remember a quaint, welcoming home with a picture window that invited the morning sunrise in every day.  Green grass, fed by the nearby creek, wrapped around the house and a stand of Russian olive trees waved in the background.

But one starry December evening, my childhood home was swallowed by angry flames.  Only the tree remained.

While the antiquated electrical system may have been at fault, I often wonder.  You see, our home was also a place of fear and dysfunction, rage and drunkenness, threats and retribution.  My mother, brother, and I were always at risk.  Then…I told.  Was the truth too difficult to bear?  Did the remorse result in the physical purging of guilty reminders?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.

But the blackened tree still stands–bravely pointing upward, bearing the wounds of its past, and determined to live the life it was meant to.

Friend, what scarred trees are there in your life that serve as reminders of personal struggle as well as His goodness and grace?

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My manic morning began with the unrelenting pulse of the alarm clock reminding me that the day’s demands required my attention.  I silently pondered a mental “t0 do” list and groaned inwardly.  Better get moving.

 The standard pre-dawn routine halted abruptly when plumes of smoke erupted from my blow dryer and then…mechanical silence.  Strands of hair clung wetly to my head, my two youngest children were wailing because—well, they could, and my oldest son was yelling something about needing clean jeans and could “somebody” take care of the laundry.

Meanwhile, the clock continued its steadfast march toward the rest of the day.  Inwardly, I moaned.  How was I to face another day of maternal duty amidst the confusion and chaos?

I paused just long enough to offer up an abbreviated prayer, “God, please help me today.  I can’t do this myself!”  The Lord spoke gently to my heart. .  “You’re right.  You cannot manage everything without me.  In fact, you can’t manage anything without me!  Remember, Child, this is my day.  Exchange your burdens for my yoke and you will find rest.”

Ahhh…rest.

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Dementia has robbed grandma of her memory, but it can’t diminish the love grandpa has for the one he still calls my bride.  Grandpa doesn’t see grandma as she is now—confused, anxious and afraid.  Instead, grandma is known for whose she is—his wife.  Despite the snowy head, lined face and a penchant for losing her way in the halls of the assisted living center, grandpa recognizes his bride as the quick-witted beauty he promised to faithfully love years ago.

 In the same way, God offers us his everlasting love.  He overlooks our blemishes and shortcomings.  Nothing deters the Groom from caring for His bride.  He tenderly meets all of our needs just as a devoted husband does for an ailing wife.  Rather than rejecting us for who we are in the flesh, the Lord embraces us for whose we are—His bride.

Jeremiah 31:3 tells us that He has loved us “with an everlasting love.”  Even if you are in the midst of a divorce, struggle with your marriage relationship, or lack meaningful friendships remember that you are loved.  God’s passion for you is greater than any situation or circumstance–always and forever.

Make a list of the ways God has shown his faithfulness to you this month, this week, or even today.  

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