Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spiritually Unequal Marriage

Tonight is one of those nights being married to someone (as my friends Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller- Authors of Winning Him Without Words would say is) spiritually unequal has been a REAL challenge! My Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde husband was totally rude and to put it bluntly a real jerk tonight. He proceeded to snap at me more than once at my daughters game and in front of other team parents. He walked to the car after the game with his buddy leaving me to walk alone several feet back, took a bag of drinks and swung it to hit my arm instead of saying excuse me to get my attention so I would take it.....need I go on? I felt my blood pressure soar with each incident!

If you're in a spiritually unequal marriage you may understand exactly where I am coming from with this. When one partner chooses to surrender to Christ and transform taking on Christ-Like behavior and the other doesn't, it makes for very rough waters for sure. All of us have bad days; however, I find now that I have a relationship with Jesus I am extremely conscious of my actions and how I treat others....and if I am short or rude to someone, an apology comes much easier than it did in my prior life.

So, what did I do? Came home, fed the dogs, grabbed my laptop and bible and retreated to the bedroom ~ removing myself from the situation seemed like the best way to handle this. Thank God for teaching me how to gain Peace with my husband regardless of the situation.

Ephesians 4:31 says ' Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Well, this scripture is a tall order when you are dealing with someone who has spent most of the night hurting your feelings or making you mad. It would be so much easier to fly off the handle with my husband and remind him in no uncertain terms, "HON, You are to love your wife just as Christ loved the church, giving himself up for her (Eph 5:25) AND you are to "love your wives as your own body"(vs 28) ~ or even to remind him that he is SUPPOSE to be the spiritual head of our home. But I know, this is not to be. This would spark a fire, in the form of a massive argument, that would end up making me say things that would put me in a category similar to his, losing my Christ-like behavior! - so instead,

I consider his day....He works 24/7 in a towing and recovery business (I typically work 8-5, M-F). He deals with customer's all day long and some days are especially trying for him. He has a couple of back up drivers; however, with my husband, no one ever does the job like he would - therefore they are lacking and cause him frustration. (these guys work hard and give him the chance to have a break). It was hot outside today in high 80's and much of his work is physical labor (I sat in my air conditioned office all day) - in reviewing the facts, I see better why he was so 'cranky'. Does it excuse the way he acted, no. But in thinking about it, I can have a little compassion and be a 'Peacemaker'. After all, it's not always like this.

Counseled by my pastor, reading the book noted above by Lynn and Dineen, and considering much sought out advice - I know that I need to continue to live in the image of Christ. My transformation and walk may be just the seed my husband needs to see in order to seek out Jesus and gain salvation.

For many years my husband and I were spiritually equal - neither one of us chose to live Christ-like and our relationship was rockier than it has ever been. It was the easy way to live~ but sure was rocky.

Now I give Jesus 150%, every day and pray for my husband constantly. I know that Jesus is in control and that He works miracles. I also believe without a shadow of a doubt that he will find Christ and transform into a God-Fearing Man, wonderful husband, and father. (He isn't a bad husband or father, in fact, quite the opposite; but I want to see him as the spiritual head of our home where Jesus created him to be). I also understand this will be in GOD's time. Not my time, Not my husband's time - strictly God's time. Until then, we keep on keeping on!

~~~~Chew on this for a bit........Your attitude and behavior with your Spiritually Unequal Husband is a CHOICE. Pray and allow God to direct your path.

Heavenly Father, I pray for all the marriages out there in the world that are not spiritually equal. It is my prayer that thru seeing the Christ-like behavior of a spouse, a seed will be planted bringing the marriage to a united front, with Jesus. I pray for my own marriage Father, that you will continue to do your work and that my husband will soon find the desire to become a newly transformed Child of God and take his place at the head of our household. I thank you Father for the many, many blessings. We love you, honor you, and worship you. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Take a minute and read a great related devotion from sweet Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries. See link to the Lysa's devotion from today 'Women, Stop Praying'

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Voice of Compassion

All of my bible study ladies and friends were praying about picking out their "word" for 2012. What were they going to focus on for the new year~what area needed some work?~ what did they want to grow in?

My chosen word was 'Servant'. In 2012 I was going to work extra hard at serving not only my God but everyone around me in every way I could. I want to serve as He serves us. I don't want to have to think twice about serving, I want to Just Do It! Thankfully and prayerfully, I am doing just that. I am attempting to serve more at my church, in my every day walk, I even served at the EWomen's 2012 conference. There is however, something bothering me and it's not serving - it's compassion. In fact, don't the two kind of go together?

Compassion is lacking in so many, unfortunately right now, for me today, I lack compassion with my own son. But I need to leave that for yet another blog~You can help me here though, please pray that I can find in my heart a mother's compassion for my son, like God has for me.

Every single person deserves compassion, even in their worst behavior moments. We don't know what a person is facing or why a person is where they are today. We don't know if they are saved and are looking forward to an eternal life or if they are an atheist. Most times we don't know if they are rich or poor, healthy or sick, or even more - WHY they were placed in our path on any given day. In the grand scheme of things, DO THESE THINGS REALLY MATTER?

If we are walking the walk The Word teaches us to walk, and we are walking and serving as our Father serves us, then a person's background does not matter. Chances are God did place them in our path for a reason. We may be the one voice they hear today and that voice can either push them over the edge into a pit of disaster OR can be the one voice today that will help them make the decision for eternal life.

As you approach today, remember compassion. Look at a person and see their soul. Provide them with the compassion they need to heal or be comforted. Or be the person that plants an incredible seed in their soul, a seed that will grow, flourish, and transform into the image of Christ. Remember, we don't know circumstances, but we certainly know what God instructs.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col 3:12

Dear Heaveny Father,
Thank you for your daily gift of compassion; for loving us unconditionally~regardless of our circumstances or behaviors. Please fill our hearts and souls with Christ-like compassion so that we may act as a vessel and through you fill the souls of others. Help us remember that compassion and serving go hand and hand and may we always reach out to those in need, regardless of circumstance. Amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beautiful Blessings!

I received the most incredible, amazing, awesome, sweet blessing last night! I had my heart set on a ExtraOrdinary Women 2012 mug - yep, just a coffee mug (well, a t-shirt too {smile}) and they told us they did not get any in.... : ( I was very sad until I met a very precious beautiful young lady named Hayley.

Hayley knew how much I wanted a mug and just happened to have one! Apparently the conference saved what they had for the Gold section (and Miss Hayley was hanging in the GOLD)! - She wanted me to have it! (Really?) Hayley gave me HER EWomen's mug.

You have no idea how this blessed me. It was such a huge heartfelt thing for Hayley to do; it came direct from her little heart. It seems like such a small thing doesn't it? It wasn't - not at all! It was HUGE! Hayley had just met me and didn't know me from the janitor ~ but she felt it in her heart to share and make my night and she really, really did!!!! Thank you Hayley!!!! HUGS, HUGS, HUGS!!! Yes, that is a picture of sweet Hayley with Lysa TerKerust.

Sometimes it's the little blessings that mean the most - don't let a single day go without blessing someone in some way ~ not only is that part of being obedient to Him, but wow it makes you feel incredible as well! - you receive a blessing when you give a blessing....just all around good stuff!

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times you may abound in every good work. As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:8-12 (ESV)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Living Stones for God's House


In a meeting last night my awesome pastor put the following scripture up on the screen and it totally blew me out of the water! Not sure about you but WOW - this is powerful! ~

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.
1 Peter 2:4-5

Did you get chills? If not, read it again! I get them every time I read it! and If I think about it too long, the tears's amazing - truly God's Amazing Grace!

I sit here and think about the fact that Jesus loves us so much not only did He make the ultimate sacrifice and die on the cross for us and our sins, but He chose us to be a special part of his spiritual temple and called each one of us to be Holy Priests for Him. THAT IS HUGE! There is nothing miniscule about this.

These are large shoes for us to fill.... I totally understand what we have been called to do...I get it. He has made us a part of His church ~ We work together with him to worship, praise, and minister -to bring others to Him ~ to eternal life forever with Him in His Temple! It's a team effort and He is OUR leader.

Dear God, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for choosing us, thank you for the opportunity to serve you, thank you for dying on the cross for our many sins ~ Thank you especially for loving us unconditonally Father, for giving us chance after chance to get it right. Thank you for your Amazing Grace and what that means for us every day of our lives. I love you Father, to be chosen by you~WOW, I don't know how else to tell you how incredible this is....I stand amazed. I am proud to be a 'Living Stone' for you and will continue to be a vessel for your Word, Your Love, and eternal life as promised by you. Amen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Isn't it Truly all about LOVE

Ever been in a situation where you were feeling a tug at your heart strings or were getting the slightest nudge to do something and you absolutely had no idea why? cuz it wasn't something you would normally choose to do and if the truth be known you didn't really want to do it anyway!

Then those tugs and nudges turn into pulls and shakes and you KNOW you are not getting out of it that just know that this is God, and he is at work...and you are right smack dab in the middle of whatever work he has going on at this minute. Oh Boy! Here we go! Hold on!

This happens quite frequently in our lives. The question is how often do we ignore it, play dumb, or pretend we were imagining things? OR are we obedient and eventually led kicking and screaming directly to the task at hand? Hmmmm, Me? Play dumb?

In Deuteronomy 30:16 The Lord says, "I command you to love the Lord, to walk in HIS ways, and to keep his commands, decrees, and laws...."

Wow, can I truly walk in His ways? Can I be obedient and act upon every situation as he directs?

In Matthew 25:35-40 (paraphrased) Jesus says, "I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you came to visit.....Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

Well, there you have it!

In my direct situation God asked me to reach out to a recovering addict-one that others have attempted to help numerous times. Knowing this, "God, what can I possibly do? I don't have money to hand out, I don't have extra cars to be borrowed, what can I offer this very lost soul?" - - "LOVE", He said and "LEAD"

"Really God, you're sure"? - I already knew the answer.....

Proverbs 11:14 - Where there is no guidance, a people fall, but in abundance of counselors, there is safety.

I took my new friend to breakfast before church one Sunday and handed her a Jesus Calling devotional (I had been holding it for just the right person). After breakfast she took the very uncomfortable step back to our church; where everyone knew her story or had invested time in her.

That was 2 1/2 months ago and except for one very tiny relapse, she remains clean today.

God says in Romans 12:10 - Be devoted to one another in LOVE. Honor one another above yourselves.

and in Colossians 3:12-14 - "As God's chosen people, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience....And over all these virtues put on LOVE, which binds them together in perfect Unity.

It is truly all about LOVE, a love like Jesus has for each one of us!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Survivor's Road ~ The Narrow Path

My blog, Survivor's Road, was given this title as a tribute to the last 40+ years of my life AND as a reminder of the path I will follow going forward - The Narrow Path.

Did you ever go through circumstances in your life, as a child ~ or an adult wondering how you would possibly ever make it through them? You may be like me and have had your fair (or not so fair) share of these crushing circumstances. But we make it.....

I grew up as a child in your average family, nice house in a suburban neighborhood. I had two brothers, dogs, pool in the back yard, and even got to watch the Buffalo Bills as they had open practices! (Loving especially to watch The Juice, OJ Simpson #32 and being proud he was part of the Bills)....little did I know about what the future held - for OJ, or me!

It seemed to start slowly....I laid in my purple room (with my picture of Jesus hanging above the headboard) and listened night after night at my parents arguing. Unfortunately it progressed to my father being brought home missing a tooth and bleeding after an accident caused by HIS own Driving Under the Influence. Eventually it led to his clothes being boxed up and left outside for him and the traumatic end of a 19 year marriage. The painful end to the dream of a normal all American family. It's impossible to describe every incident for you, there's not a Blog big enough, but I'm sure you get the picture - my childhood was not average afterall.

On May 1, 1978 we moved out of our long time family home into an apartment with our mother. My Rock. The ultimate single mother that worked 2 jobs to take care of her children, that made sure we had what we needed, that nurtured and loved and provided for us - well making up for the empty chair at the kitchen table that was once my dad's. I was the Queen Bee (as my brothers called me), the only daughter - us girls have to stick together ya know! My mother had a brand new start to life - new place to live, new furniture, clean slate. Wow, was she happy! and us kids were adjusting. Life was good - and getting better!!!

30 days later, June 1, 1978, I was asleep and awoke to the phone in the kitchen ringing. (this was back when phones hung in the kitchen with long cords so you could cook and talk!) The call I was about to take would change my life forever; you see, I was only 12. I heard the officer say to me, "Is your mother home"? , "Sure", I said "I know she's sleeping in her bed". He asked me to get her and instead of finding tossled covers and my mother's highly teased black hair on her pillow - I found a perfectly made bed. Where was my mother and why was a police officer calling in the middle of the night looking for her?

You see, my mother died that night as she crossed center line coming home after a girl's night out.

So, where does survival come into play you say? Where doesn't it?

I was raised Catholic - can recite mass, confession, the Rosary - but I didn't have a relationship with Jesus Christ; however, today I know that I was carried (like the footprints in the sand) throughout every day of my life. In my story, the trauma didn't stop with the death of my beautiful mother - it continued for years and years - one incident after another - but I survived and in some cases have flourished.

I could not have survived without my Heavenly Father, see the verses below for confirmation. Today I know there will always only be one set of footprints in the sand. My Jesus carries me!

In Psalm 18:31-36 it says:

For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?—the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.

Wow, Wow, Wow! Who could ask for any more than that!? "You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip" ~Amazing! I didn't survive alone - Jesus shielded me, created a wide place for my very full steps - he kept me from slipping!

In 2nd Timothy 4:17 it says, But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth ~ It's a message that must be heard! I survived in order to prepare others!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

There is NOTHING we cannot do, nothing we cannot survive - our afflictions are preparing us for the eternal weight of glory...... there is a plan, His plan. We are not alone!

Psalm 23.4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

My Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for carrying me. Thank you for providing for me in every time of need, whether I knew the need was there or not. Thank you for being my life boat. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me so I can now pass the message of you on to others that feel they are in survival mode but don't yet understand you are truly carrying them. I pray that you will continue to give me the words I need to continue carrying the message of you, to others, throughout the rest of my life. Amen.

Must Read Books!

  • A Confident Heart, Renee Swope
  • An Untroubled Heart, Micca Campbell
  • Crazy Love, Frances Chan
  • Fit for My King, Sheri Rose Shepherd
  • Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst
  • Radical, David Platt
  • Winning Him without Words, Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller