Monday, June 20, 2016

The Frailty of Life

This past week has been one of facing the frailty of life.  I have not been able to get it out of my mind.  The massacre in Orlando left us all feeling alarmed about how quickly life can be snuffed out. Orlando was hit hard by this tragedy along with the deaths of Christina Grimmie, the young singer from the Voice, and Lane Graves, the toddler taken by the alligator.

My daughter, Megan, turned 30 last week, and I’ve had to watch her deal with too many deaths of friends in her young life.  The Pulse massacre hit too close to home for her.  She and her husband lived a block away from Pulse at one time, and it was difficult for them to watch the news in their old neighborhood.  They were very familiar with Pulse and visited occasionally.

The day after Megan’s birthday, she and Ben headed out on a road trip to New York.  On their way to their first stop in Savannah, they witnessed an accident and stopped to help.  Ben pulled a woman out of her car that had flipped numerous times, but she was already dead.  It was a traumatic experience for him.  And then just yesterday, they learned of the death of one of their co-workers who was killed in a car accident.  I pray for peace and wisdom for them to handle all this death around them.

Death causes us to look life in the face and realize how precious it is.  Because our time is so valuable, death should make us see that it’s not worth spending our life stressing over the little things. Death should cause us to see the good in our spouse, our friends, our family, when we view the pain of grief in others and realize how lost we would be without those we love.  It may cause us to make some overdue changes or maybe slow down a bit to appreciate time and family much more than we do.  No one has ever said, on their death bed, “I should have spent more time in the office.”  Make family time a priority.

It’s difficult for us to accept death when we lose those closest to us.  We get so attached to one another, especially our families.  In God’s eyes, though, this life on Earth is temporary. James 4:14 tells us, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”  Our home is with God.  We have eternity to spend in Heaven with those who have gone before us and those who will come after us.

That promise doesn’t make death any easier for us, though.  There is some comfort in knowing our loved ones have gone to a better place, but we still miss their presence in our life.  That grief is a horrendous process to experience, but it is a reality of life. 

I thank God for His promise of heaven.  It’s what gets me through this life, knowing what we have to look forward to.  We will have to deal with death, though, until we face it ourselves.  It is God’s way of reminding us that we need to stay focused on Him.  We need to keep our priorities in order.  We need to appreciate every day we have and live life reaching out to others, not just feeding our selfish desires. 


Do you know that promise of heaven?  If you are not sure, I encourage you to pursue it.  Talk to someone or just go to God and ask Him.  He will show you the way.  Don’t wait.  We are not promised tomorrow.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Disappointment

I have gotten away from my weekly posting, but plan to get back into the routine.  Life has been crazy.  Besides, I’ve had this blog for over six years, so I believe I’ve covered almost everything there is to cover about marriage.  If you have any suggestions for an article, please message me or leave a comment.

I heard a sermon about disappointment, and it made me think about disappointment in marriage.  It can become poison that will destroy a relationship if not handled correctly.  This preacher said “Disappointment is not permanent – don’t make it that way.”

We face disappointment every day.  Maybe your spouse says something that hurts your feelings. Maybe you’re tired of picking up their socks for the 10 millionth time – they’ve ignored your pleas to keep the house tidy.  Maybe they don’t live up to your expectations of what marriage should look like.  Maybe life hasn’t worked out the way you planned, and you feel disappointed with God.

It is easy to dwell on the frustrations of life, especially as the world gets more difficult to live in every passing day.  Just turning on the television and watching the news is enough to drag anyone down.  There is disappointment at every turn. 

“Disappointment is not permanent.  Don’t make it that way.”  You see, we have control over our thoughts which will turn into words and action if not dealt with -- words and actions that may damage your marriage. (Watch your thoughts, they become words.  Watch your words, they become actions.  Watch your actions, they become habits.  Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.)

None of us is perfect even though we go into marriage expecting perfection from our spouse.  You can jump from marriage to marriage but never find that perfect relationship.  You have to take the imperfections into consideration and then let go of them.  Focus on the positive qualities of your spouse.  Rick always says, about our relationship, “We’re two imperfect people determined to make it work.”  That’s the key.  No matter what, don’t give up.

I wish I could tell you that I handle disappointment perfectly every time, but I don’t.  It sometimes takes me a few hours to get out of my pity-party.  It’s not until I start talking to God and ask Him to help me through these petty little distractions that I find peace.   And He will – He will give you the peace and perception you need to move on from disappointment. 

Once I turn my disappointments over to God, he always shows me the good in Rick and just how amazing he is.  If Rick was amazing at everything, though, we wouldn’t need God!  Actually, I wish I had Rick’s attitude.  He completely overlooks my imperfections.  That is what we should do in marriage!  Overlook the imperfection!  Focus on why you married your spouse in the first place.

I get upset with myself for getting upset in the first place.  This human skin is hard to live in when you strive to be perfect and expect perfection.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  To which Paul replies, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”


God never promised us a life without trials, in fact quite the contrary.  He uses the trials to draw us closer to Him and prepare us for the plans He has for us.  In weakness, God’s power is made perfect.  Think about that.  When we are weak is when God gives us power.  Like Paul, I’m happy to be weak if that means Christ’s power will rest on me.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Like the Disciples

I always look forward to watching my favorite biblical movie during Easter, “Jesus of Nazareth”.  In the movie, Peter is asked by Jesus to join Him after the miracle of catching all the fish. Peter hems and haws and says he has to take care of his family.  Although it wasn’t recorded quite like this in the Bible, I’m sure that Peter, at some point, questioned leaving everything to follow Jesus.  All the disciples must have thought, even for a brief moment, it was a lot to ask to leave their families and their work. 

We all face a point in our Christianity where we have to decide to put the worldly things behind us to follow Jesus.  It’s a daunting task, one that keeps many from turning their lives over to Him.  Before I truly became a Christian, I remember thinking it would be too much of a sacrifice.  I wanted to go out and party with my friends and do whatever I wanted.  Living a Christian life didn’t look like a lot of fun to me.  Oh, how wrong I was!

Marriage can sometimes look like the same kind of sacrifice, scaring many away from it.  In order to have a healthy, solid marriage, you need to put your old life and the world behind you.

Back to Peter - some Bible scholars refer to Peter as being unstable and unpredictable.  He was passionate and often ruled by his emotions, speaking before he clearly thought about his words. 

During the Last Supper, Peter vehemently declared to Jesus that he would never deny knowing Him as Jesus foresees that he will. As we all know, after the arrest of Jesus, Peter claims he does not know Him not once, but three times.  His fear overruled his faith.  I don’t know about you, but three denials would have been enough for me to say, “Sorry Peter.  I don’t need your kind as one of my disciples.”

Seeing all the flaws in the disciples of Jesus gives me great comfort.  None of us are perfect; we all struggle with flaws.  Still, Jesus includes them in His elite group, and they all wind up leaving a great legacy in Biblical history.  Peter turns out to be the “rock of the church.”

Matthew 16:18-19, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus forgave the disciples for their doubts, fears and imperfections as He forgives us.  He allowed them to grow into the spiritual leaders He desired for them to be by letting them learn the hard way – by making mistakes - by being human. 

So why do we have such a hard time allowing our spouses to be human, to make mistakes?  We can be so quick to judge them and begrudge them.  Aren’t we called to be like Jesus who forgives and forgives and forgives?

Our world would have missed out on some amazing life examples from the disciples of Jesus had He decided to divorce them because of their imperfections.

You may miss out on an amazing marriage should you decide to divorce because of your spouses’ imperfections.  I know I almost did.  At one time, I thought my marriage was hopeless, but God saved it and made it amazing. 

Through most of Jesus' life the disciples seemed pretty hopeless and helpless.  That was just the middle of the story, though.  Jesus had so much more planned for them.   They went on to live full, holy lives fulfilling the will of God.  That is God’s desire for all of us.

You may be going through difficulties in your marriage, but realize, you are only in the middle of your life story.  There is always hope.  Don’t allow your fear to overrule your faith.  God has a plan for you, too.  In order to fulfill those plans, you may have some life lessons to learn in order to prepare you for the latter part of the story.  Realize that these times are part of that plan to make you stronger – like the disciples.