Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thrifty tip!

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With my husband’s birthday coming up, I wanted to do something really special for him. The problem- I’m on a budget. So one of the money saving tips I employed: I wrapped his gift in the Sunday Comics! By doing this you aren’t spending money on what’s wrapping the gift so you are free to spend more on the gift itself. Plus, it’s colorful and often times funny!

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Update

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Hello readers. I added a couple new things to my blog today.

1.) There is now a Short Story tab. Look for updated additions to the story entitled, The Rain, as I will be working to add to it regularly.

2.) I added a new tip to the Tips/Fun Facts tab. Check it out before your big Memorial Day BBQ!

3.) As May draws to a close, I will be announcing the winner of the autographed copy of Her Name is Grace, by my aunt, Shidorr Myrick Gayer! Keep reading and liking my posts for more chances to win. Now that life is settling down somewhat, you can be sure to look for more give-aways.

4.) I’m working on a few DIY projects that will be unveiled as the summer months unfold, so be watching for tips, tricks, and cute home decor projects that are both appealing to your eye and your wallet!

5.) I’m digging deep into a biblical study of marriage, and I have some excellent resources of which I will be making you aware, as well as some potential giveaways.

Thank you readers for your continued encouragement and support in all my blogging endeavors, and I urge you to “Stay tuned” for more from A Cord of 3 Strands.

A Royal Wedding

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“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

I had planned on doing a marriage post all weekend but now it sort of has a new twist since my mother got engaged. Congratulations, and I wish you the best, Ma.

I’m still going to write about marriage today.

I am in the habit of buying the Sunday paper each week, mostly for its coupons since the written news is basically obsolete as soon as it’s printed, but I’m old-fashioned and enjoy reading my Sunday news just the same. Well, the latest news here in North Carolina is still centered around the passing of the law that bans same-sex marriage in the state. I couldn’t even recount to you the number of letters to the editor that stated how, “Christians use the Bible as an excuse to discriminate and hate homosexuals…” or “No truly religious person should ever endorse an act that would deny the human right to select a person as a life partner without enjoined benefits, regardless of gender,” and “No truly religious person should ever endorse discrimination…To do so is definitely being judgemental and that runs counter to the religious teaching.” My personal favorite line from that specific letter to the editor, entitled ‘Maybe a new definition of freedom in order’ is this:

 “The same book that tells one not to do these things [be judgmental] also provides a reprieve for those who do. ‘Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.’ Do we need a new definition of hypocrites? Definitely not; however, we do need a new definition for freedom.”- Huey J. Gaines, Hubert, NC

I’m sorry, Huey, but you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried… But what upset me more than Huey’s letter was the fact that it’s “counter letter” to the editor made the Christian viewpoint look ignorant! Come on, people, if you’re going to be passionate about your faith and your beliefs, you need to be able to defend it in a way that is solid and factual, not wishy-washy and confusing. As I’ve said before, our biggest downfall in the field of apologetics is not knowing why we believe the things we do. So, I thought I’d do my best in this post to stamp out the ignorance.

I came up with the following illustration this weekend as I was wandering around Sears.

This …..

Kate’s engagement ring

is the engagement ring of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, given to her by her husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. The ring belonged to William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. It is an 18-carat white gold ring with a 12-carat oval sapphire and 14 round diamonds. At the time Diana wore it in 1981, it was valued at £30,000, or $47,365.65. Needless to say, it is very valuable and highly prized not only because of its monetary worth, but because it is a royal family heirloom.

This…

is a Sears knock-off of Kate’s sapphire engagement ring. It is “lab created blue and white sapphire ring in sterling silver. It is currently priced at $124.99 (£79.16) per ring” and comes in ladies’ sizes 5-9. And if you order it online at Sears.com, you save 50% and get free shipping!

Marriage in its Biblical sense is a lot like Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s ring; it is a priceless gift, handed down to us from our Heavenly Father to his chosen people. It is Holy. It is Sanctified. It is righteous, and it is an illustration of Christ’s love for the church.

Same-sex marriage and civil unions are a lot like the Sears knock-off ring… It’s around because people want something that looks like the real thing, but when you get right down to it, there is not the same intrinsic value. It is existential, it is self-satisfying, it is worldly, it is not sanctified by God, it is forbidden in scripture (Not just Genesis, Leviticus or Deuteronomy like most non-believers seem to think when they try to “prove our hypocrisy,” and in-so-doing merely prove their ignorance.) Above all, it is not sanctified by God. It is therefore not and can not be Holy matrimony.

Let’s talk about my marriage for a moment. I was not married in a church. My husband and I were wedded in the basement of the county courthouse by a justice of the peace. The lighting was poor, there were paper signs concerning wanted criminals and various fines posted around the room. I was not wearing a designer dress, but a cotton, jersey-knit top and skirt which belonged to my mother-in-law. I honestly couldn’t tell you what the judge said during the ceremony because it was so brief, I had no chance to take it in. The only pictures we have were taken in my in-law’s living room, by my mother, mother-in-law, and grandfather. There is not a single photograph in which we don’t have crazy red-eye, or someone’s head or arm cut off in the shot. And none of us were ever looking at the same camera. My wedding, as unglamorous and untraditional as it was, was still based on a mutual love of Christ and his teachings. My marriage was and still is worshipful, and my goal is to make it a perfect illustration of Christ’s love of the church. You see, it’s not the legal documentation that defines my marriage, nor is it the tax breaks, or the health insurance benefits that define it. What gives my marriage its meaning, its definition, its worth is its foundation built upon Almighty God, the root and cornerstone of our relationship.

I realize that I may not reach more than 15 consistent blog followers with my message, but that’s okay. My goal is not to change the world, or even the hearts of the wicked, but to light a spark within the hearts of other married (and single) Christians to take a stand for their marriages’ Biblical value and sanctity, that we might be the light of the world that God calls each of us to be.

“Too Much *Clap Clap* Time On My Hands”

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Naturally, with all this “free” time I have, I’ve made quite a few to-do lists, including, but not limited to:

1.) Mow the lawn (if it would go a single day without raining…)

2.) Finish all the laundry

3.) Organize/throw away all the extra clutter we should never have packed up and moved with us

4.) Decorate rooms

5.) Re-finish my writing desk/sewing table

6.) Exercise (mainly just remaining consistent)

7.) Apply for school

8.) Goodwill shopping

9.) Blog

10.) Make my way through Heroes

So That’s just the stuff I’ve been able to come up with today… I’m sure there is more that needs to be done around the house. But I’m limiting it to my top 10 for now. As you can see, I’ve already completed number 7. Huzzahs are in order.

My plan for today, before bell choir and chancel choir rehearsals, is to sort through the junk in the addition and put all the empty boxes in the attic for storage. There will more than likely be a follow-up blog on my progress, because I lack confidence in my ability to focus enough to get it all finished today. But, I’m being intentional about getting started, so that has to count for something. Here’s to a productive day and minimal procrastination!

Fun Stuff

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There is a lot of change forthcoming in my life:

1.) return to school after a year-long hiatus

2.) absence of my marine husband for the duration of his deployment

3.) new responsibilities of being a homeowner

4.)… I can’t think of anymore at the moment… except the potential return to part-time work after a year-long hiatus…

I don’t feel overwhelmed. And I won’t, until I’m in the middle of things and have to stop and remember that God is taking care of everything.

This will be my 3rd attempt at returning to school… I’m praying that God is saying, okay, go ahead this time. I’ve been pretty discouraged about the whole thing, not being able to finish a major in music performance due to its impracticability… But I’ve decided to put on my big girl pants and do what needs to be done. At this point, I’ve decided to take the remaining classes for my English Education Associates degree and then transfer to UNC Wilmington for my bachelor’s degree in English Education. I feel that choice fitting for a number of reasons:

1.) Teachers get paid summers off… ballin’!

2.) It enables me to be able to work in an occupation that is mon-fri, 8-3p and still be able to see my husband on nights and weekends

3.) It will allow me the privilege and honor of being able to support my husband financially when he returns to school after he gets out of the USMC.

4.) I’ve been told on multiple occasions recently that I have a certain proclivity for literature and writing, and I couldn’t help taking that as little nudges from the “Big Guy” to make my move on the English Ed. degree…

5.) My husband wants to teach music. and that would be difficult for both of us to do in the same district at the high school level in our home town… So this way, there stands a possibility that we’ll get to work within the same city/surrounding area with one another, Which I would find cool. Idk what my husband would think of that, but seeing as he’s about to spend 7 months in a foreign country away from all his family, I’m thinking he’ll be fond of more time with the wifey and family.

6.) I would be the world’s most awesome English teacher ever. Why? Because I have a passion for the subject. It’s not quite as fervent as my passion for music, but it’s passion none the less. And a steady paying job, covering material with which I’m both familiar and in love, makes dealing with the public school system and teachers unions seem more bearable… Plus, if I can make an impact on a student’s life, that would be pretty cool; definitely a plus.

So there you have it… I’m becoming my father… but you know what? I’m sort of okay with that. I know I can be happy in any occupation as long as I’m able to worship God and be content in any situation. I think that’s what He’s working on teaching me through this military experience; contentment in all situations. And home and happiness to me depend on the people that surround you; the ones who make your life full and worth living. That being said, I could totally be a teacher…

I know what you must be thinking; for an aspiring English teacher, you sometimes miss typos and grammatical errors… I apologise… I’m only human…Which is probably just another reason my students would love me…

My 40 Days

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“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Yesterday, I was feeling the strain of my husband being away.The first few days are always the most difficult; the dogs start acting out and refuse to leave my side for any reason, and it sinks in that there is still quite a way to go before he’ll return.

Well, I pulled out my calendar and crossed off Sunday and thought to myself, “One more day down.” out of curiosity, I counted up the remaining days until his projected return, longest case scenario. 40 days… Instantly a plethora of Biblical references popped into my head, 3 in particular:

1.) Genesis 7:17– God flooded the earth. He chose to deliver Noah and his family on the ark, protecting them as the flood waters raged for 40 days and 40 nights. God did not abandon them. Noah was faithful to the Lord, and he was rescued from destruction.

2.) Exodus 34:28– Moses went to the mountain where he spent 40 days and 40 nights in fasting and meditation with God. It was there that God sealed his covenant with Moses (the 2nd time around) with the 2 tablets: the 10 commandments.

3.) Matthew 4:2– Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights in preparation for his ministry. While fasting and spending time with his Heavenly Father, Jesus was tempted by satan. He did not succumb to temptation, and remained steadfast and pure, a perfect living sacrifice.

In each of these instances, God used the time span of 40 days and nights for periods of spiritual growth. He was present, guarding his faithful servants, protecting them from harm, leading them in His truth, and preparing them for what was yet to come.

In my devotion this morning, Psalm 56:8 was referenced:

“Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll– are they not in your record?”

It went on to say in the devotion that God knows our every struggle. He is present and with us through all the things that make us weep, and he is moved by what moves us to tears. It said that God comes close to us in our times of distress and he knows and is aware of our every tear….

For whatever reason, last night a few friends and I decided to watch the movie,  Brothers, starring Toby McGuire, Jake Gyllenhall and Natalie Portman. **For those of you who don’t know the movie, the following sentences may be considered spoiler alerts… Skip down to the next set of green asterisks. Anyway, Toby McGuire plays a Marine who deploys to Afghanistan in 2007, where his helicopter is shot down. Everyone assumes him dead, but the audience later discovers he survived the crash with one of his other Marines, and they were taken POW.  Anyway, the point of my ramblings is that the whole “deployed spouse” thing in the movie, and watching Natalie Portman’s character try to carry on with her life, assuming her husband is dead while he’s in a prison camp being tortured really struck a nerve. **I feel blessed that my husband will not be facing a combat situation (assuming nothing breaks out in Korea while he is there) when he goes to Okinawa; he’ll be on a military base, a lot like the one here, just…over there… But I still really felt the twinge of loneliness for my husband. The fact that he deals with cannons and explosives for a living was unsettling. As I continued watching the movie, I began to cry…

God knew exactly what was on my heart and He spoke to me through his word this morning as I read that devotion. He knows my tears and doesn’t see them as insignificant, or petty. We worship a God who is present in our lives; fully alive and working, who cares about our ever tear. Every pain. Every struggle. He sees, and He is moved to comfort us as His children. I know the next 40 days are a period of preparation not only for me, but for Mitch as well. We are both being tempered like steel, molded and prepared for the obstacles to come. We are being strengthened and empowered in the Lord to serve and worship Him through our trials. I feel that being able to see just that much of the “big picture” is enough to keep me going, seeking God and craving to know his wisdom in this time of spiritual growth.

I’m not alone. I have been blessed with other military spouses in the same boat who are sympathetic; we are here to help each other through the lonely times, and encourage one another. I have been blessed with a beautiful and caring church family, who are constantly offering their assistance and prayers on behalf of me and Mitch. I have been blessed with good friends who love me enough to distract me with good food and companionship 😉 I feel so loved, so blessed. In the scheme of things, this is a tiny, miniscule season that both my husband and I must go through. I pray that it brings spiritual growth, strength, maturity, and prepares us for what lies in our future, both in the Marine Corps, as well as our marriage. Amen.

Soap Box Time…

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I have a few opinions I would like to make known/clarify.

1.) I am a follower of Christ. I accept the gift of grace and mercy that God the father has offered me through the sacrifice and crucifixion of Christ Jesus, the one true Son of God.

1.A.) I am not perfect. I am not an ideal Christian and I stumble and fall just as easily as everyone else. The difference is that I humbly acknowledge my faults, my weaknesses, my failures, and short comings and look to God to cover me with his unfailing grace, love and mercy to overshadow my past mistakes and purify me from sin, and lead me in his truth toward righteousness.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

2.) I vote on principle, not party. It just so happens that the vast majority of principles and beliefs I hold lean toward the more conservative party. Am I in support of the ban on gay marriage in the state of North Carolina? Yes.

3.) I believe that a moral conscience of right and wrong stems from the knowledge of God’s perfection, and our strivings to leave behind humanity’s imperfection. To not know God is to not know morality. I also believe that in denying the absolution or supremacy of God, one is affirming either existentialism, or hedonism in its stead, and thereby exalting the imperfect over the perfect, contradicting their own worth and value in this life.

4.) I believe that marriage, or holy matrimony, is precisely that- Holy, and sacred. It is not a commitment to be entered into lightly, or conditionally, or contradictory to its definition in scripture.

5.) I believe that to encourage or advocate same-sex marriage is a direct contradiction of the Holy Bible, the word of God.

6.) I believe that Christians who divorce for any reason other than infidelity or abuse are breaking the covenant of marriage, and are equally guilty of sinning against God’s holy covenant of marriage.

7.) I believe that by making foolish and uneducated comments, and blindly quoting scripture makes protestors and non-believers cynical of the credibility and validity of the Christian faith. To quote Ravi Zacharias*, “Any belief, no matter how sincere, if not reflected in reality is not a belief; it’s a delusion.” If you claim Christianity as your foundation of beliefs yet your life does not directly reflect said declaration, you are delusional. You can not choose the bits and pieces of scripture you want to believe. The Bible must be taken in its entirety, and not a la carte.

8.) I hold fast to the belief stated in 1 Timothy 3:16-17, that “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Again, all scripture, not simply bits and pieces as we see fit.

9.) If declared Christians do not understand why it is they believe what they claim to believe, it is worse than not believing at all. We, united as one in Christ, will never be taken seriously as Christ followers by non-believers as long as we continue to make blind, foolish, and thoughtless statements and declarations that we attribute to our “faith.”

10.) “But to the wicked, God says: ‘What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face. Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue: He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:16-23

What right do non-believers have to blindly, mistakenly, and out of context quote scripture to confirm or validate their non-Christian beliefs? The Bible says quite clearly, they have none. In James chapter 4, James states that what causes our quarrels in this life is our selfish desires, vein conceit, and backward motives. You can not sin in the name of God and call it righteous. You just can not. James goes on to call his audience an “adulterous people.” Does he mean literally, people guilty of marital infidelity? At first I thought so. But now I realize that he meant mankind as a whole as he goes on in verse 4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend to the world becomes an enemy of God.”

James was saying that mankind was being unfaithful to God. I believe that we have largely turned our backs to this passage because it elicits discomfort, and wrong-doing on our behalf. But that’s what James was trying to point out- that when we become hypocritical in our faith, we cheat on God; we dishonor the most important and sacred relationship of all.

So while I’d like to point out to non-believers their twisting and manipulating the words of God in scripture to justify their sinful and worldly desires, pleasures, beliefs or ideals, I would also like to call out all the Christians who are denying non-believers the chance to see God’s glory in your lives, through practicing your faith through your daily routines, words, and actions, and instead portraying hypocrisy.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly,  ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:21-23

This is a call for a reflection into your faith. These are simply my beliefs and opinions. If you don’t like them, that’s too bad. I will not apologize for standing firm in what I believe. I do not intend any disrespect. At the same time, I’d ask any commenters to please be respectful in your responses and take into consideration the points I’ve made previously.

* Also, my notes on the quote from Ravi had gotten dripped on by coffee and were slightly unclear, so if I am mistaken in my quotation, please, correct me.

Hope and a Future

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‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Jeremiah 29:11

Recently, this passage of scripture has been speaking, nay, screaming at the top of its lungs to me, trying to get the message to sink in. I wrestle with God’s plans for me, and my tendency to try to steal the reigns from the Lord. As I prepare spiritually and emotionally for my husband to deploy later this year, I’m struck hard with the realization of how much I’m going to need God for strength, support and encouragement to make it through the loneliness, separation, and frustrations that all come from being apart from your spouse.

I don’t feel ready, but I know that I am, not because of anything I’ve done or accomplished, but because God knows what’s going on, even if I don’t. And in a deployment-type situation, I have virtually zero control over any and all aspects of it- when, where, how long- and I have to trust that God will use our time of separation as an opportunity to grow us both in faith, and trust in His word.

Last night, a few of the military spouses gathered at the church for a scripture-based bracelet making. I have to say, I have not been so touched by the fellowship of my “military mamas” as I was last night. There is something powerful in speaking-yes, actuallly verbalizing- scripture and our spiritual desires, and needs in prayer. And as we all sat around the tables nibbling desserts, singing, stringing the beads, and sharing our struggles and praying for one another, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit surround us. I knew then with certainty that God put me here with these other women for a reason. We are meant to give each other strength, and courage, and hope. We are meant to offer our time, and our resources and our prayers to lift up and help our sisters in Christ. It was a beautiful experience.

The bracelet was designed by Carla Weist, with her inspiration coming from the Lord, and His scripture pulled from Jeremiah 29:11. Each bead had a symbol, a meaning in both color and shape and position in the bracelet. And Carla and her dear friend Cindy even made up a melody to accompany our passage of scripture!

Carla calls her jewelery Broadcast Share-Wear, in that by wearing it, you are displaying a unique and beautiful piece, that initiates conversation, and when someone asks about it, the wearer has the opportunity to broadcast the scripture behind it, sharing God’s word. Share-wear, because in sharing with others the scripture upon which your jewelery is based, you witness to God, and your faith in Him through what you wear. Our bracelet was designed specifically with military spouses in mind and here is the breakdown of what it represents to each of us:

Hope and a Future… Jeremiah 29:11

For I know: Denim Lapis Faceted Rectangle (Blue is associated with God’s authority, knowledge, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the law and the Heavenly realm.) The Plans I have for you: Wood; Sterling Silver, Hematite (Brown denotes humility, God’s connection to the commonplace and ordinary, humankind as we are on earth, and stability. Sterling silver represents our time and trials on earth. Gray symbolizes repentance.) Declares the LORD: Amethyst faceted square (Purple embodies strength, majesty, power, God as our defender, and son-ship.) Plans: Wood, Sterling silver; Hematite to prosper you: chrysocolla (Turquoise and Malachite) Oval (Turquoise is associated with healing, sanctification, the river of God, and the life-giving flow of the Holy Spirit. The green represents growth, new life, fruitfulness, maturity, protection, the kingdom of God, rest and restoration.) and not to harm you: Black Onyx Faceted rectangle and Sterling Silver (Black symbolizes fear. Sterling silver also denotes redemption, freedom and wisdom. Plans to give you: Wood; Sterling silver, Hematite hope: Lemon Quatrz faceted square (Yellow embodies light, hope, joy, and character) and: wood, Sterling silver, hematite a future: Paua Shell oval (Combination of blue, green, purple, yellow, and orange to represent all that will be part of our future in HIM.) 

I cling to this passage now more than before; knowing that God knows what lies ahead for me and for my husband. I cling to the knowledge that my God is greater than what we go through, and that to cling to Him means to spend time daily reading His word, and seeking Him in prayer. I cling to the fact that God has gotten us through longer spans of time spent apart, and He will use this opportunity to strengthen us in our faith. I know that God plans “to prosper us, and not to harm us.” With this verse in Jeremiah, and the 91st Psalm, and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, God has given me the inspiration, courage, strength, determination, and faith to make it through the obstacles ahead.

Praise God, the God of all comfort and peace that passes understanding.

To Be Still and Know…

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“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

It feels like I’m on this ferris wheel of unrest. Every time I complete a cycle of a piece of God’s plan, I feel uneasy and restless until the next piece of my life’s puzzle is revealed to me… For those of you who are just as OCD as I am, you’ll understand this metaphor:

Imagine you’ve been working on a puzzle for the past 22 years… And every 6 months to a year, you’re allowed to look at the front of the box to see what the completed puzzle is supposed to look like. So you work on the 4 billion piece puzzle year after year and each year you complete a segment of the puzzle. Except that you just thought you finished a segment, only to realize that there’s a piece missing. You start scouring the house; looking under furniture, between couch cushions, even in the refrigerator, because hey, you left the remote in there one time, so it’s not ridiculous to think that maybe the rogue puzzle piece found its way in there… But at a certain point, you realize you’ve DONE all you can DO. And now it’s time to hurry up and wait….

That’s what my life feels like. I’m not sure how to fill, or even with what to fill the gaps, which leaves me with the unsettling sense of failure. Not even so much failure as much as I just feel as if I forgot something… Like when you get ready to go somewhere and you go through your checklist of necessities: Purse, check. House and car keys, check. Wallet, Check. Cell phone, check…. but somehow you still feel like you forgot something.

I’m one of those people who is most content under pressure of a deadline. I didn’t realize this until I finished my associates degree… I would have given anything to get a break from classes, and schedules, and tests, and labs… but I honestly and truly believe that society does either one of two things to students today: It either makes them apathetic, to the point of not wanting to work, or it makes them workaholics, who don’t know how to just relax. I feel like the latter.

I cling to Psalm 46 when I feel like this; like I’m in the very center of a whirlwind society, swirling and spinning while I’m standing still in the center, just watching it all happen. I keep asking myself what I should do, when maybe the answer is that I shouldn’t do anything; I should just wait. Just…wait.

I’m an awful wait-er… In spite of all the waiting and anticipation that has been the sole objective of my life for the past year and a half, I’m still just awful at it. Perhaps I’m somewhat more patient than at the start, but I don’t necessarily feel that way.  And the more I sit and look at the word “wait” on the computer screen, the more it loses its meaning.

Lately the question on my mind has been what am I supposed to do to fill the space of time my husband is away. That was an easily answered question last year. I just finished school. 24 credit hours was more than enough to keep my mind off missing him. But now, I’m a 21-year-old housewife. I feel incredibly restless. And the thought that keeps popping back into my head is that I should study apologetics, or music ministry at a seminary. I was listening to Ravi Zacharias (what a brilliant philosophical and theological mind!) on “Just Thinking” yesterday and I have never in my life felt more called to that area of ministry. It’s always been sitting there in the back of my mind as what I’m called to do.

Anyway, I figure there have to be other people who struggle with the same sense of unrest that I do… I’ve found exercise and prayer help. But I’m going to seriously meditate on the possibility of seminary school. I would so much appreciate your prayers on the subject. I know that if this is where God wants me, he will make the way clear, and my paths straight. Here’s to trusting God knows what’s best! And happy Friday, all!

Wisdom Addiction

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“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31: 10

I have a confession to make… I have an addiction. Yes, I have an addiction… to wisdom. I crave philosophy… So much so, that I actually purchased the textbook for my Philosophy 101 class, as well as the additional required reading (Leisure: The Basis of Culture, by Josef Pieper) and for those of you who know my husband and me, you’ll know that actually purchasing a textbook over simply renting or borrowing one is a big deal 🙂

Anyway, that is precisely the reason I love reading from the book of Proverbs so much. The entire basis of the book is wisdom, and that by clinging to wisdom and understanding, you make your paths straight and your life will be satisfying. There are 31 chapters- one for each day of the month- and I read them starting on the first and when I complete them, I cycle my way through them again. Proverbs tends to be my favorite when seeking guidance or wisdom.

So I was reading my daily devotion from youversion.com via my Motorola Droid Bionic (shameless plugs, I know…) and I’m on day 104 of 365 (youversion does cool things like track your progress via percentage complete… I’m at 28.3%/100%) The topical scripture today was Psalm 45:6. With all the engaged persons and newly married couples I know, I found this verse intriguing.

Go ahead and think about your wedding day… Whether it’s past, or future… Who do you see there? Family? Friends? What kind of flowers? What color is the bridal party wearing? Are you in a church? Are you outside? What music is playing?… All of these things are what create the beauty of a traditional wedding ceremony for us in today’s society. The groom standing at the end of the aisle, waiting anxiously to glimpse his bride in her beautiful gown, and take her to be his wife “til death do them part.” The bride at her most beautiful and glamorous in the perfect dress, hair and makeup never having looked more perfect… With that image in mind, your most glamorous of days, your most ideal ceremony, think about how much BETTER it will be when Christ comes to take His bride (the Church) to live with him for eternity…

I was pondering that as I read that Psalm, and then came to the realization that while it was written in old testament times to refer to our version of a wedding, John uses the same verse in Hebrews 1:8 to describe Christ, the husband of the Church. It really is a beautiful image…

Which leads me to today’s reading of Proverbs. Today I read Proverbs 4 (I know, I’m a day ahead) I still had this beautiful imagery of a wedding party and then of Christ coming to claim us as his faithful bride when I read Proverbs 4:8-9:

“Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.”

The “She” and “Her” refers to wisdom, but as I thought about it, this verse also applies to marriage, does it not? Ladies, if your husband were to hold you in high esteem, would you not be more inclined to give him respect? If he came up to you as you were making dinner in the kitchen and embraced you, would you not be apt to show him your honor and reverence to him in a tangible way, let’s say, serving him dinner? My answer is yes. Marriage is a delicate and tricky creature… If you hold it too tightly (the song “Hold on Loosely” is stuck in my head now, btw) you can strangle it; but if you don’t cling to it enough, and show your spouse in tangible ways your love and respect for him or her, they just may turn and run away… There are a number of things that influence a good marriage. I’ve got it broken down to 5 bits of wisdom for now:

1.) Love– If a wife does not feel like her husband loves her, and only her, she is not inclined to respect him as her husband, her spiritual leader, her partner in life, or even as a man. While men seem to thrive on respect more than love, if a husband doesn’t feel loved by his wife, he may seek it- in a physical sense- outside their marriage. A couple should model their love after the definition found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. It’s harder than you may think, but without a doubt worth the effort.

2.)Respect– Respect and love go hand in hand; they’re like two edges of the same sword, or the two cookie parts of the Oreo… The point being, the wife must respect her husband in order for her to let him be her spiritual leader, and head of the household. If a wife does not respect her husband, she’ll begin to question all of his decisions, motives, intentions, and their trust for each other will suffer. He will not feel that she deserves his love and affection, and she will not feel that he deserves her respect. This is a dangerous game to play. I recommend if you find yourself in this situation to really sit down and evaluate not your spouse’s behavior, but your own. Ladies, what can you do to live your life with a more gentle and quiet spirit, allowing your husband to lead you? Gentlemen, what can you do to show your wife affection, and earn her respect? I’ve discovered in my 2 years of marriage (I know, I know, I’m still practically a newlywed…) that if the husband has his wife’s best interest ahead of his own, then he will want what’s best for her. When the wife wants what her husband wants, she’s really wanting what’s best for her, whether it’s what she thinks she needs, or not. It’s a continuous cycle of caring for each other and respecting the needs and wants of your partner; that means even if it isn’t what you want, it may be what you need.

3.)Communication– this is by far the most difficult part of a relationship, marriage or otherwise. Communication is the cream filling between the love and respect cookies. The difficulty comes from the two very different ways in which men and women think. Rather than paraphrase a story I read yesterday, I’ll insert my own grocery store faux pa… My husband and I went to the commissary for groceries… He had come home frustrated to the max that day and was in no mood for shopping, so he was being somewhat cantankerous. I had a list and was on a shopping mission to get everything on it before the store closed… Well, between me trying to maintain a quiet and gentle spirit, and my husband being ornery, my mission to get everything on the list before closing time (15 minutes) was failed. I kept my tongue in check and we walked across the street to the MCX for some of our non-grocery list items. For those of you who don’t know what a “mission shopper” is, it’s someone who absolutely abhors shopping for the sake of shopping, and employs the “get in, get out” method to buying their necessary items without dawdling or lingering. I am a mission shopper. My husband is not. I went to the laundry hamper aisle… Being a woman, I had a specific style of laundry hamper in mind, tall rectangular shaped, with a flip-up lid to conceal the dirty laundry inside… Mitch made the comment as I walked past the plastic Rubbermaid-style hampers, “Sorry plastic ones, apparently you’re not pretty enough…” …that’s my husband ladies, and gentlemen- he knows my thoughts whether I vocalize them or not. I was annoyed at the limited hamper selection, so I made a circle around that isle and eventually came to grips that any laundry hamper would suffice, but as I struggled to unstuck them, I called for Mitch and he was nowhere in sight. I scraped my hand and broke a nail, but I eventually got them separated. I would say that I then went to look for my husband, but I didn’t have to go looking- I knew he was in the electronics…. I found him, and we finished our shopping. But all my frustration and his obstinacy and impatience with my indecision could have been eliminated had I just communicated to him to stay nearby in case I needed his help. Instead, he sensed my frustration and wandered as far away as possible to avoid confrontation. The point being, couples have to communicate whether it’s about something small like a laundry hamper or something more life-changing, like a new job, or home, or children… Letting the little things fester and stew leads to an eruption somewhat like when you stop paying attention to a pressure-cooker: you end up with a big mess that takes forever to clean up. Knowing that men and women have different versions of logical thinking helps you to chill out and see things from his or her perspective before you go criticizing.

4.)Patience– This isn’t necessarily something you think of immediately concerning marriage… or at least I didn’t, and woah, buddy was that a misstep on my part. Patience is huge. Spouses need to realize that their significant other, however perfect he or she may seem, is a flawed individual in need of the same salvation you are. That was an epiphany of mine a few months ago. I cannot place the expectation of perfection on my husband, because he is not perfect and he will fail. Instead I need to be patient and encouraging to him. The same goes for husbands to their wives- She’s not perfect, guys… One of these days, she’s going to wake up and clear her throat exactly like her mother, and then start nagging you about what you’re doing and why you aren’t helping her with __________ chores… You will be tempted to let your frustration take over and set her straight, but don’t. You mustn’t raise your voice at her. And if you’re half as good with words as my husband has become, you’ll find a way to express your feelings in a way that doesn’t sound like, “Woman, you’re exactly like your mother- stop it!” I’ve been on both ends of the patience thing, and trust me, the golden rule has never been more applicable. You will want patience from your spouse when it’s your turn.

5.) Compromise– again, another huge aspect of marriage that I initially overlooked. For those of you who are unsure, compromise isn’t just trying to sway your spouse to your own opinion so you get what you want. That’s manipulation, and that’s no good. Compromise is taking the best of both sides of a dispute, and putting them into place as the solution. For example, my husband and I frequently dispute how to spend our weekends. I would prefer to either spend it outside, playing with the dogs, working in the yard or going out and spending time with friends. My husband is a total introvert. You wouldn’t think that if you’d spent quality time with him because once he feels comfortable in social situations, he lets his true colors show and just gets “Mitchy”- that’s the term we’ve coined to describe his vibrant, and unique personality. That being said, my husband is shy by nature, and would prefer to spend his weekends vegged out in front of the TV playing video games or watching Avatar: The Last Airbender (don’t knock it ladies, it has a good storyline.) It’s taken us the better part of 5 years to figure out how to compromise these two opposing ideals… What usually happens is that we get alternating weekends of our choice. Last weekend, we were hermits and I don’t think we spoke more than 6 whole sentences to each other, and we both had a relaxing, satisfying weekend. The Saturday before that, we participated in a walk for MS and strolled 5 miles through a beautiful park and then went to a friend’s house for a Scentsy open house and just to hang out. See? It can be done. The challenge is to not complain while you’re compromising. Which brings me back to patience, and respect. Have the respect to give a little in your relationship rather than taking all the time. Be patient with you spouse, and it will be returned. Show your love in tangible ways, like NOT nagging or complaining when you do something that your spouse wants to do.

This is not to mention God, which is an intrinsic property to any successful marriage. Set your focus on God, and he will order your loves appropriately. I’ll expound more on this later… But for now, take it as a given that God must be at the center of your marriage.

I know I’ve used this expression before, but I’m going to use it again: I submit that a happy wife doesn’t necessarily make a happy life, but that spouses who compromise and give to each other over themselves make each other happy. A happy husband makes a happy wife, which in turn makes a happy marriage. And that’s my nugget of wisdom for today.