The ladies take a look at the spiritual aspects of the wedding and marriages in general and give their reactions.
Archive for Relationships
I wonder why it has taken me 4+ years of marriage to figure out how to really love a person? Lately, I feel as if I have finally grasped what it means, and I have really started loving my husband.
It started with going back to church weeknights on a more regular basis. I really have been tuned into God and I’ve more than realized that when I put God first in my life and love Him first, it makes loving others so much easier. I’ve actually come to a place where I’m “in love” with my Savior. We talk about this all the time, but knowing it and experiencing it are INCREDIBLY different.
I want to do what makes Him happy, and I find so much joy and peace dwelling in His presence. To get here, you really have to give everything else over. It becomes reality when you get to the point of understanding God is the only one capable of loving you without any conditions. You recognize the flaws of others and accept them as they are, but then you strive to love like Jesus loves – and that covers over the inadequacies…
I have never loved my husband more than I do now because of this revelation! I’ve changed my expectations because of my internal grasp of what it means to Love like Jesus. I no longer think of what my husband’s love should provide me. Instead I look to God to fulfill my needs. A man cannot provide me what I need for joy and contentment. That kind of peacefulness ONLY comes from the Lord. And so I no longer see my husband as one who should make me happy, but as one who is deserving of all the love I can give because Jesus first loved me. My love has become a choice of unconditionally loving like Christ. It’s so unlike what the world teaches – but in practice it is truly astounding!
And even as I have experienced this love revelation in my life, I continue to find it strange – a mystery even. When you let God take over, be first and foremost in your life, living and loving others becomes easier. I am to that point where my emotions control me less, and my faith guides my decisions. My energy is no longer wasted on trying to control my circumstances, or holding out unrealistic expectations. I’m simply free to love. And that is an amazing feeling!
God has been really working on my heart this last month when it comes to being gracious. Certain family situations have changed causing there to be some, well…. let’s just say awkward situations. I think I can leave the explanation at that and still make my point.
When you are dealing with family members (or even friends, coworkers) that you don’t particularly get along with for whatever reason – you are faced with some very big challenges. I think lately I have been quick to judge in these awkward situations. It’s easy to do that when you feel you are being judged. It seems a part of human nature to find points of contention and use them as a barrier between us.
A really dear friend of mine – a woman who is very strong in the Lord – told me a while back that I should take this situation as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to be gracious. It’s a chance for me to extend my hand – to be welcoming, inviting, encouraging. She reminded me that I didn’t know the whole story of where this person was coming from. And if I took the time to be an ambassador to my family, I might gain a great friend. I might defeat the judgment coming from the other side, and I’d be acting in a very Godly manner. I could be the one to change this person’s position on certain issues of disagreement.
Why is it that I don’t listen to the advice of my wise friends?
Well, I do listen. Sort of. I HAVE been trying to make an effort. But I find myself having a negative attitude when I am home in the confidence of my husband. I can be very critical. And that’s NOT an appealing attitude for a Godly woman to have. So I’m trying very hard to make a conscious effort to be the ambassador for Christ I should be – and I’m working on the attitude in the privacy of my home. I’m working on changing this attitude within me so that being gracious is not a chore – something that I do because I feel I have to. But rather I want to be warm, welcoming, and accepting and not have it be forced. I can do this easily with the people I love, and even to people I don’t even know – so I should be able to get past this bone of contention and act the same way.
I think it really comes down to humbling myself. I may have more experience and more knowledge than this person. But I’m not any better. And God did not call me to be best friends with all, but I surely do need to show love…
Maybe this is something you are struggling with? Maybe you may face this in the future. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share. I could really use some encouragement when it comes this this situation.
The ladies get together and talk about the trend toward extending adolescence. Is it healthy? How might it impact one’s spiritual life? Listen to our thoughts on the matter and weigh in with your own!
I have always tended to be a loner. Growing up, I was a solitary person, and even now, though I am better about it, I often keep to myself. I’m not good about calling people either. I painfully admit that I cannot remember the last time I called my own mother. I try to call my dad at least once a week, but I find that even this is difficult for me to do. I don’t expect people to call me, and so I don’t really think twice about calling other people unless I have something to ask or tell them. I know people that call their parents every day and talk to them for a long time, and I it is hard for me to fathom what could be so important. When I write I tend to be verbose, but when it comes to conversation, it is often difficult for me and I find I have little to say.
This Thanksgiving my cousin exhorted the rest of us to call my grandmother. She is elderly, alone, and often sad and lonely. My aunt used to work part time from home, and she had more time to spend with Grandma, but things have changed. My cousin has kids that keep her busy, and the rest of us are spread about the state or country. Since I have never been good about communicating, distance doesn’t make it any easier.
I know I should call my family members more often – especially my parents and grandmother. My dad and grandma are alone most of the time, and I could do a lot to make them feel better if only I called and spent 10 or 15 minutes chatting. It is something I definitely need to work on. I need to set aside some time – like I do for the Lord and cultivate those important relationships. Even though we are different, with little in common, I think it would be a example of Christ in my life and show my love for them.
It seems to me that in America older generations are forgotten, cast off, or neglected. We take our old people and put them in nursing homes. Sometimes this is necessary, but I wonder what our society would look like if we returned to a culture of respecting our elders, taking care of them at home… American culture in general treats the elderly as worthless, when they are the ones with wisdom and knowledge to share with us. We can learn so much from them, if we took the time to care for them and cultivate relationships. When I think on this, I do not want to be counted as one who neglected the family that raised me.
So I encourage you all, as I work on this myself, to call your grandma, your grandpa, your mom and dad – who ever may be lonely and in need. Make time for them. Set them as a priority in your life. See what you can learn from them. And experience the work of Christ in these relationships – even if it may be difficult.
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Deu 5:16
How many of you have a pen-pal? No, not an online buddy you IM or chat with instantaneously. I’m talking about a good old-fashioned, hand-written letter-writing pen-friend. (That was a lot of hyphenation!)
I have had many pen-pals over the years. For me it started in elementary school with Sara from Leander, TX. That was back in 5th grade, and I was instantly hooked to learning about people from other places.
Then there was
Sanna from Finland
Natasha from S. Africa
Dima from the Ukraine
Sylvia from Poland
Inga from Latvia
Ligia from Romania
Amy from Alberta, CAN
Sana from Virginia
Krzysztof from Poland
Magdalena from Poland…
And finally, my dear friend Natalia from Poland whom I’ve have written to for the last 8 years or so. We started writing in college when I found her name through a Polish-American heritage organization. She was studying International Studies, English and Spanish. I was studying International Studies, Polish and Spanish. It seemed like a perfect fit. Almost a decade later we still write and share our lives with each other through snail mail. It is such a joy to find a letter postmarked from Poland arrive in my mail box every couple of months or so!
Letter writing has its virtues, at least in my humble opinion, and I’d like to share them with you. (It seems as though my posts of late are focusing on simplicity and I feel as though God has been trying to impress this lesson on me!)
First, letter writing provides practice in penmanship! Go ahead – laugh! But it does. The art of fine penmanship is waning in our digital world. And even though I consider myself one of those people “born digital” I have a deep appreciation for what was. Think of all the men who were scribes and recorded the words of our Lord. Penmanship is still a virtue in my book!
The next virtue is metalinguistic awareness. You’re probably thinking, “WHAT?!” Metalinguistic awareness is the knowledge and understanding of your own use of language. Writing to another person – especially someone whose first language is not English focuses you to think about your language. I consider myself to be a thoughtful person when it comes to my words. I choose them carefully, and I try to use language accurately and precisely. It is a virtue that comes in handy as we are called to speak and share the Gospel!
Cultural awareness and empathy grow out of writing to others who live and experience life in very different ways from our own. I think it makes us more sensitive to the needs of others, and we become more effective witnesses when we have an understanding of this. Americans are spoiled and we often take our wealth for granted. It is a real eye-opener to correspond with people from around the world. Furthermore, I believe that letter-writing is a personal and intimate way of getting to know someone. Think of all the letters the Apostle Paul wrote. He was a master at this form of communication and it helped him to forge and foster relationships…
Lastly, and maybe most important in my mind is the virtue of patience. Old-fashioned letter writing develops in us a sense of patience. Too many people today crave instant gratification. Sending a letter via snail mail will not provide you with immediate feed back. You must have patience and consideration. It takes time, but time and absence make the heart grow fonder. I have spent years and years waiting for letters to arrive – and the joy that I experience when a letter arrives… well, that’s the kind of excitement I imagine we’ll have as we finally see the Lord after patiently waiting for his return.
So, consider who you might write to, and send an old-fashioned letter. Wait for a response and relish in the experience of that letter finally arriving!
But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Rom 8:25
Homecoming by Jolene
Last month was Homecoming at my Alma Mater, Roberts Wesleyan College. Reunions coincide with homecoming, and this was the year of my 5-year reunion. I didn’t see anyone I recognized from my days at Roberts. I did, however, see one special lady I knew from my high school days – a woman I featured HERE in my list of True Woman who have helped me grow in my faith over the years!
It was so good to see Mrs. Radel. She saw me an instantly recognized me, and I can’t remember such a powerful embrace in quite a long time. I was so happy to see her, and she said something to me that stuck with me… “Sometime soon we’re going to connect again.” It’s not that cataclysmic of a statement, but it got me thinking about how wonderful it was to have a real woman of faith as a role model in my life. I was touched by her words, and I hope that they are true; that we will reconnect again now that I am an adult… In a way, seeing her was a great homecoming, because it really focused me back on home and the things that were important to me growing up in high school and college.
I suppose that is what homecomings are all about – bringing you back into focus, and reconnecting with the things and people you once held dear. Sometimes as life goes on and we get caught up in the busyness of life. We forget where we started and the people that shaped us into who we are today. In my case, my high school and college years were very formative in my Christian faith. It was in high school where I first gave my life to Christ, and it was going to Roberts Wesleyan – a faith-based college that helped me grow my new faith.
I would like to take a minute and publicly thank Roberts Wesleyan College, a Christian liberal arts college founded in the Free Methodist tradition. It is nestled in quaint North Chili, NY and for all my years driving past the campus as a child, I would have never imagined the impact the people of this place would have had on my life. I am truly grateful for the classes started with prayer, the insight and dedication of Christian professors and professionals, a focus on developing our character. CHAPEL (3 times a week to refuel spiritually – what a wonderful opportunity). There is so much to be thankful for.
I know that there are often many differing opinions on attending Christian colleges – and just as anywhere else you will find students with varying degrees of appreciation for and dedication to the principles esteemed by the college itself. I know that for me, as a new Christian, my 2.5 years at Roberts were hugely important, and I would highly recommend it to others if that type of school was what they were looking for.
I have an interesting group of friends from grad school that I like to get together with on a regular basis. We are all teachers, and we put our heads together and brainstorm about teaching. We also go off on random topics… and this came up recently. I thought I would share some of my revelations…
We were talking about one woman’s son’s English assignment and about how she was very displeased with his teacher for allowing him to use moderate profanity in an assignment. It was a combination of letters and symbols, but my friend was appalled. She felt it totally inappropriate, and I agreed. Our conversation turned to limited vocabularies, and limited ability to think… and ultimately to the frequency with which people in our culture think about and talk about sex.
I made a comment about how I always feel awkward when intimate scenes are shown on tv-shows and movies. I am a little embarrassed, and feel the need to leave the room (especially if there is someone other than my husband watching). One of my friends felt it was also inappropriate, and another said it didn’t bother her as much…
After dinner, I got to thinking. I’m glad I react this way. Not that I believe sex is an embarrassing thing… but it has its place between a married couple, and it’s not something that should be on display. It’s intimate! The very definition of the word intimate means that it is something personal and private.
I am proud that my moral compass is on and alert. I’m glad that I feel awkward, and want to leave the room because I feel like I still hold intimacy in its rightful place. When we start to lose this sense that sex is something special to be celebrated between a married man and woman, we move away from what God has ordained. I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to treat sex like it is some paltry act.
I probably wont be turning off my tv completely, but I am going to continue to use my judgment about what I do watch. And I won’t be afraid to turn something off that I deem inappropriate. There seems far greater risk in leaving the tv on than I care to imagine.
Originally posted at MissWisabus.com…
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 15:5-6
A few days ago, the ladies at (in)courage offered up a pack of cards to the first few takers as long as the recipients promised to send out the cards to encourage others. I jumped at the chance and thought of the women I know who could use a little encouragement right now.
One fighting cancer.
One with a somewhat difficult and longed-for pregnancy.
One with a hectic beginning at a new job.
One experiencing a family tragedy.
One who has received a bad report from the doctor.
Some have gone out already, others are waiting to be mailed. What I hope is that these beautiful cards will bless those who receive them, if just for a moment, and let them know that someone is thinking of them. Praying for them. Hoping along with them for a good outcome, even when the chances don’t look good.
I learned not long ago from a cousin that her grandmother (my Paw Paw’s half-brother’s wife) used to have a card ministry. I’ve heard of those, but never known much about them. Being a part of the National Day of Encouragement and sending out these cards has made me consider the possibility of doing this on a regular basis. It was a blessing to me to share my heart and pray for these women. I know how I feel when I receive a card in the mail — like someone cares enough to have taken the time to write me a little note. So few do that anymore. What a blessing it must be to be on the receiving end of a card ministry. Have any of you ever been a part of one or known someone who was?
Today is the National Day of Encouragement. Take a little time to contact someone and let them know that you care and that they are valuable.
Father’s Day is one of my favorite days. I love my dad and like to be able to celebrate – even if it’s just hanging out of the back deck, a cookout, or dessert. It’s a simple thing, but so important! My dad is a great example of the way a father loves his children, and I am so blessed to have been given a great dad. It reminds me constantly of the way our heavenly Father takes care of and loves us.
I’d like to celebrate our Heavenly Father tomorrow -it’s Father’s Day, and appropriate to remember all that He’s done for us. Tonight I’m going to visit my dad with dessert, and tomorrow my husband and I are spending the day with my father-in-law in Cooperstown. And through it all I with thank God for the blessings He’s bestowed! It’s going to be a great weekend!
In what ways do you celebrate your dad and your Heavenly father?
I’d love for you to share…