Twenty five years down the road……..

Facebook find #1

I met her at Jazzercise and we formed an instant connection. We loved working out, buying all the latest workout togs at the local dance store. We watched movies together and she and her husband attended church….the same church I went to. They had their problems, like any couple. They had an adorable little baby boy and moved into a nice home. It seemed they had a charmed life. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding and we had a great time selecting dresses and doing all the fun stuff that goes along with it.
After my husband passed away unexpectedly, we parted ways a bit. Maybe she didn’t know what to say to me and  maybe I should have tried harder to approach her. Maybe my tragedy made her uncomfortable. I still saw her at Jazzercise, where she brought her new little girl, Jordan. She had golden ringlets and huge blue eyes. A perfect child for a perfect couple, in a perfect life. Things were no longer the same between us.
I found her again on Facebook just yesterday. I didn’t “friend” her, I think some friendships are best left in the past. She is divorced and both she and her husband are remarried from what I could see. Her little girl is no longer innocent. Her profile page was loaded with a few shall I say, very colorful expressions. Nothing about God. Nothing about church. But she is beautiful, and my old friend still looks great too. But it saddened me. I know that with divorce comes sadness, pain. And we were close once.
A second Facebook find…….
Her Dad did my husband’s memorial service. He was a wonderful and kind man, with a great sense of humor. I attended the church where he was a Pastor shortly before moving from California. I will never forget how often he used to stop by my folks house to see me after Jody died. He was softspoken and often emotional, a very sensitive man. He was not the best preacher but nobody cared, the love he and his wife had for the Lord shone through in their love for others. They had two daughters, and later, twin sons. Shortly before I moved, the daughter got married to a great guy, a youth Pastor. She borrowed my wedding veil which I was overjoyed to let her use.
Flash forward to now…….She is still married to the same man all these years later, and they have two or three kids. On the FB news feed I saw that her husband, Rick just finished another missions trip to Africa, where I guess they have been several times. When I read of her life, I was happy for her parents, because I know they don’t have to worry about her life. She and her husband belong to the Lord. On her profile there was nothing you couldn’t show anyone, including her parents. Things like camping, coffeeshops, scrapbooking, and no swear words.
Two lives, two reactions. One of sadness, one of joy and hope.
I know what I got was at best an incomplete snapshot of what is really going on……but I think it told me a lot. Only time will tell how it plays out for any of us, but with God’s grace we do the best we can. We know who waits for us at the end of the road….
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16

Just an ordinary day…….

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13 NKJV

The really good stuff in life is made up of ordinary days, many of them over a long period of time, like a string of beautiful pearls…or maybe I will say opals, I have always loved the fire in them. Tragedies all start with ordinary days that begin like any other. You get up, and if you are like me you have coffee right away, soon after you hit the floor.

I remember I slept in on September 11, 2001…..I was awakened by a phone conversation I heard taking place in the next room, my roommate talking with my Mom. I heart snatches of, “Yes, I am watching it now….” and “No, she is not awake yet…..” I will never forget that day, the moment…..starting out like any other.

Another day many years ago started with irritability on my part, with my new husband…….I was critical, I was not kind. I remember being focused on what I wanted, not really thinking of him. It wasn’t terrible, there were no raised voices, but we did end up separating and doing different things that day. I should add that we came together marvelously later that afternoon….but that is not what I remember the day he died. I remember what happened earlier.

That taught me a lesson that I have kept close. Ordinary days are anything but ordinary. They are all a gift.

So today, over that cup of coffee, catch their eye and hold it for a moment longer…..tell them you love them so they really believe it. Grab their hand as they walk by. Swing them around for an impromptu dance in the kitchen. As my best friend is fond of saying….”sometimes you just gotta give it a little dance….”

Laugh for no reason……..Make the call if you are far away. Lori

photo credit: vojko kalan

The "S" Word

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

sub·mit (səb mit′) present or refer to others for decision, consideration, etc. yield to the action, control, power, etc. of another or others; also, to subject or allow to be subjected to treatment, analysis, etc. of some sort: often used reflexively offer as an opinion; suggest; propose

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church”—Ephesians 5:21-29

This is a tough concept for us, even in the Church, although it shouldn’t be. I think that these verses are some of the most misused and misunderstood in the Bible. They have been used by men, including clergy, to make women feel quilty about leaving abusers. They have also been used by women against other women…..but when we think of submit, we have to think of Christ first. He submitted Himself unto death. He submitted Himself to His Father for our good.
Likewise, in a Christian marriage, somebody has to be the deal breaker when it comes to major decisions, and that would be the husband. This is not to say that wife must ask her husband if she can spend the money for a broom, or ask him what brand of peanut butter to buy! (I actually knew of a woman whose husband made her ask for money for household items, and he had to approve the amount!)
This is not what this means…… 
To break it down very simply, in my own opinion and understanding of Scripture it looks like this: In a Christian marriage, both man and woman submit to Christ as He is head of the church. The husband and wife each have a responsibility. The husband has the responsibility to love his wife and be willing to die for her as Christ died for His church. That puts a huge responsibility on the husband, since he also must be accountable to God for how he treats his wife. The wife has a responsibility to let that rest on the husband’s shoulders and not try to wrestle it away.
This is as far as I want to go with this, it is Saturday and I am really in the mood for something more like this today!

Or this:

cartoons from Far Side….

Advice on Marriage from a Single

I realize I am stepping out on a precarious limb today. You may ask, can a person who has lived most of their life single offer advice on marriage? Well, the Apostle Paul was unmarried and he had much to say about it. His advice came straight from God. The Bible is clear on what marriage should be: A beautiful picture of Christ and the Church. So how come the divorce rate is much the same in the church as outside the church? This statistic is very troubling and I wonder how that can be? I think it is because as the church has moved away from teaching directly from the Bible, marriage has suffered the conquences. That and the fact that nobody wants to yield anymore, we all want our rights. Even in the church, we don’t want anyone telling us what to do, and then there are all the outside influences that wreak havoc on relationships. Throw in blended families and the difficulties increase……

Marriage is extremely difficult, that much is clear, even Paul says:  “But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” But marriage done God’s way is a beautiful picture of Christ and the Church.

There is so much focus on what people do wrong in marriage, here are some things I have observed from very strong marriages that are wonderful examples of things done right: (*note I said strong marriages, not perfect marriages!)

Go into it for life, and never threaten divorce. It would be even better in my opinion if divorce were not a topic at all, why go into something already defeated! (My folks have been married 60 years and it was never an option for them.) 

Be able to apologize and not just say “If I did something wrong” but “Will you forgive me?” This I learned from a Bill Gothard seminar years ago.

Be best friends first, be able to talk to each other. Your husband or wife should be the first person you want to share something with. Passion is great, but it will not last forever. Sooner or later you have to talk.

A sense of humor is a must. Find at least one thing you can laugh about together every day.

Be aware of your differences. Yes, despite what our culture says, there are distinct differences between men and women as well as personality differences!

Kindness, kindness, kindness. A soft answer turns away wrath as the Bible says…….Treat your mate as respectful as you treat your boss, your co-worker, your friends. Sometimes I listen to how married couples talk to each other and I think, no wonder the divorce rate is so high. They bark orders and throw sarcastic barbs back and forth like they are participating in verbal jousting matches. To some people this is normal, but it is a destructive way to live, especially with children in the house.

Stay individuals….don’t turn into the same person. Don’t depend on that person for your well-being or happiness. Be happy by yourself first!

The best advice of all is taken from the book of Ephesians………..Reverence for one another as you revere Christ.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

More thoughts on submitting tomorrow…..