There are many reasons I married my husband and many more than that keep me married to him. One is the commitment we made to each other. There is this clause “through sickness and in health,forsaking all others, even as we both shall live”. We are one entity, united by God and together forever. That is only one reason, and while it is enough, I wanted to explore further why even without that I would still be married to this man. My husband is thoughtful. I mean by this that he thinks about what I may need. I had been on my own for so long and made my own money that I still am hesitant to ask for things, but he offers me what I need when I need it and thinks of these things and provides. So he is an excellent provider through his thoughtfulness as well as his career. Secondly, he loves and trains the children alongside me. As a mom, you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to be supported and helped in raising children by your stronger self, your spouse. It makes the daunting task much less daunting and shows all of us love. A third reason is that my wonderful husband wants me around. This is a beautiful thing!! It is always nice to be wanted and loved after four and a half years of marriage, growing in fellowship and respect for one another’s presence. What a gift! Fourthly, he speaks my love language. I recommend the book The Five Love Languages if you haven’t read it yet. My husband is willing and does regularly show me love how I feel most loved, which for me is quality time, and I am happy and eager to show him love the way he needs it, through acts of service. And lastly for now, because you have to end somewhere, my husband encourages me in the Lord and in our prayer life. He does not neglect the spiritual matters of the heart so we have a depth in our relationship which few can boast. There is immense power in being both physically united and spiritually united in Christ. We read and discuss Scriptures and pray together, and that is beautiful. So, this amazing man I am happily married to has some down sides, but we all do (I have more than my share), but I believe where one of the partnership is weak the other is strong and in so doing we are stronger together and more useful than we ever were apart. That is what is supposed to happen, so thank you, God!! He is so good! And thank you ,Steve, for loving me so well!!
I think mosquitoes are really around to teach us very important lessons about life. Many would say they wish Moses would have just swatted those two mosquitoes but I think they are still plaguing us for several reasons. First, they are a great equalizer. Of course, they have their favorites (me) but they can pretty much get everyone to run for the inside at dusk and spray things and hurl curses at them from our mouths pretty equally. Along those lines, we are kept humble as well for similar reasons. No one proudly struts around when they decide to attack. They duck and run for cover. They also teach us something about distraction. No matter how deep and important the conversation and thought being shared is, the conversation is over when these little evil distractions invade our space. And no matter how strong we are in our faith, if we are attacked by many distractions we can get off course and not finish the sentence, so to speak. I have had many attempts at distraction in the past, have some now and most assuredly will later, but it is my choice how I handle them. It is always our choice to allow the distraction to change us or cause us to side step when we are to go straight. Our job is to read God’s Word to know God’s will and pray for His strength and renewed protection from distraction every day or moment. If we make it a priority to prioritize, we run the very real chance of being unmoved by distractions and creation a barrier of protection around ourselves. Just a thought.
Most people know my Dad as a farmer, and he was. Some know him as a machine repairman for Whirlpool, and he was. Some know him as “Pudge”, and he was. Some knew him as a Marine, and he was. Some knew him as a great tenor singer and church song leader, and he was. Others knew him as Sunday School teacher and church deacon, and he was. However, I had the privilege of knowing him as Daddy, and he is. Still with us for a while longer, I see him in his state of less and cannot see the physical degeneration. I see the man he was and I thank God I had a Daddy that loved me unconditionally and that I could respect and admire unequivocally for his faithfulness to my Mom and us and integrity of spirit and soul. He is and has always been the strongest man I know and was always willing to do for anyone who needs it. Generous to a fault, he gave even when we had little until we had more and still he gave. He lived his life as I knew him in truth and dignity and respect for his parents and care for his wife and us. Tender to animals and in his heart, he felt much more than he showed when others hurt. If anyone harmed us in any way, he was a bear towards the offenders and defended us no questions asked. Many moves, he was there helping me move. If my car was making weird noises, he knew what was wrong by me making the sound and knew what I should be paying for the repair. He wouldn’t let me drive until I had learned from him and proved that I could change a tire and change my oil and fan belt. He made sure that we took a family vacation together every year, no matter what. A true patriot, Independence Day was celebrated right up there with Christmas and Easter, but all three were celebrated to the hilt! And the man could cook! I still have my Daddy today but we are not sure for how much longer but I just want ted to celebrate this great man that I love and respect so much! I think we should tell people before they are gone because it can happen any time. I love you, Daddy!!!
Bad things happen to bad people, which no one seems to have a problem with (just desserts and all that) but also happen to good people. And people are always asking “Why?” My perspective or insight is quite different than many you may have heard. Oh, I have heard myself a fair share of “God doesn’t do bad things to good people but Satan does” or “they must have done something wrong” or “People have free will and can choose to do bad things against God’s plan” or some other explanation. Actually, I used to think and say that last one but I no longer do. The reason bad things happen on this Earth we live on is because we are not here to live a gloriously rich and blessed life for eternity here. When sin entered this planet, the goal of the Lord God was not to keep us here but for us to prove ourselves holy and worthy of heaven after this brief stint on this rock is up. What makes me so sure? The Bible tells me so. There are several passages (see Job for one) that speak of us being sharpened as by fire, being tested to prove our worth, etc. Everyone acts good (or at least more so) when everything is fine. You don’t generally see the weaknesses or problems in a person’s heart when things are smooth and orderly and peaceful in their life. When something bad happens, you often see all too well the areas of weaknesses in a person. God is God and who are we to say He cannot use bad things to refine our spirits and souls and mold them into the best we can be for His work. Now the difficulty would be if you don’t believe God is perfect and magnificent and awe inspiring. Then, you would not be at peace with this explanation and would call me crazy and say God would never do anything bad ever. Well, to that I would reply that there are forces of evil also that do evil and that God can use any bad or good thing for that matter to account plush your growth and development. He never allows a difficulty to come your way without providing a way through it. That is also in the Bible and is a beautiful promise!
Watching a PBS show with my husband, I was struck with a thought. They were speaking of a history of very harsh coastal conditions off the coast of North Carolina that beached many a sailing vessel over the years. Then they mentioned the coastal rescue men and how they were “duty bound” to go out every time and rescue those they could, though it was often at great peril to themselves. I thought about that, how people took their work seriously back then and had a work ethic of doing the best they could at their jobs, no matter how seemingly insignificant the job. That is actually a Biblical principle, that of working with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not men because it is really God that we work for and not for men. And then I thought about some of the register workers recently that I’ve experienced that I had to interrupt their phone conversation to pay for my items. And I thought of the hospital workers at my dad’s hospital now and how I have to alert them and then remind them to do something important for my dad that should have been checked. Then I thought of the store workers I recently encountered that were more interested in telling me their problems than doing their job. And it struck me that the epidemic of leaving the Lord out of American public life has depleted the work ethic and sense of duty that made America such a great place. If you ask someone to do something they don’t want to do, some people quit or at least complain that they are being I’ll used, though they are being paid to do work not just socialize or play games on Facebook or their phone. And I remember how hard it was to hire help when I had my Audiology practice. The really good worker I had was an older lady and she was wonderful. The college students felt themselves misused if I asked them to do more than the minimum requirement of their hired position. So, what I suggest is that we Christ followers actually make it a point to work as if working for the Lord and not for men because we are really serving Him. Maybe we would stand out enough to be a light set on a hill or salt for the world wherever we are. Maybe we would inspire others to do the same?
As a person who has moved around a lot, having called 15 different places “home” at one time or another (not including visits and vacations and mission trips), I have pared down “stuff” over the moves. The last thing you want to do when moving around is haul a bunch of “stuff” around. It gets broken, takes more time and energy, is more expensive, can get lost, etc. Stuff really weighs you down in so many ways. Needless to say, my holiday decorations were eventually dispensed with and given away, etc. So, we didn’t decorate for holidays like my mom did for some big holidays growing up, except a Christmas tree we got after moving into here, Lord-willing our last home. And without decorations, you don’t always remember to play it up a bit. Now, I am never going to encourage my children to adorn the house with rabbits at Easter or Santa Claus at Christmas because they have absolutely nothing to do with the rel meaning of those wonderful events. However, I am feeling strongly that we need to do some sort of celebrations of events for the kids to have warm snuggly feelings and traditional remembrances of those events we celebrate because of faith and family. And my dad’s stroke and the possibility of his going off to Heaven at some point in life (we’re never promised a day) caused me to remember Christmas at the farm house we lived in where decorations and warm fuzzy feelings inside warmed me despite the frosted window panes. There were birthdays always celebrated together with cake and ice cream, the opening of cards and presents and card games played. There were traditional meals celebrated with the whole family getting together over the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted in your life. These things, as I age, are now inspiring me to set up some of these traditions with my family and kids so some day they will remember their childhood and us (their parents) with warmth and fondness, especially on holidays. Other days are important, but it helps the memory to have rare, bigger events to latch onto. It’s a memory to hang your hat on and remember, “Yeah, that was great to celebrate together and know I was loved enough to be made a fuss over.”
The very strongest of us can be taken down. Strength often gives the false illusion of pride and personal power. There is a sense that the strong are impenetrable or unaffected by challenges the weak face. I believe that is partly why Jesus Christ taught us that the strong are weak and the weak are strong. The strong man trusts in his strength, the strong woman hers. However, the weak person knows they can not do it alone and they humble themselves to be helped to function. The strong is weak because he does not trust and pridefully walks about as if he indeed were unable to be weakened. However, as my Daddy proved recently, the strong can be weakened. My Dad is the strongest man I know in so many ways and yet he was recently weakened by a minor stroke. Now this mighty man, ex Marine, farmer and machinist, is in the hands of Almighty God. And in reality, the weak have a major advantage in their life journey. They know they are in God’s hands and in need of help. The strong don’t often get it until they are weakened. Fortunately, my Dad was a humble man despite his strength but I believe that was a result of decades of the Holy Spirit’s power and influence. Weakness, as the world would call weakness, is strong because of its faith. I long to be weak in my ego, not suffer from pride and puffed up senses of importance and ability. I long to get out of the way and allow God’s strength and wisdom to flow through me because of Him and not me. There is a great disadvantage to power for this reason also. For someone to be powerful, someone else must be less powerful and the greater might look down on the lesser. Be warned, the weak can teach the powerful volumes in showing the way into God’s heart. He wants us to be humble and teachable.