My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Posts tagged ‘love’

What Women Want…

imagesCAY7UD39OK…I know probably every guy reading this title is shaking their head in frustration because they NEVER seem to understand what we, as women, seem to want. If that is your reaction then this is the post for you. I am about to let the big secret out of the bag on exactly what women want. And it’s really very simple actually.

Are you ready? Here it is…women want to be pursued.

There it is…plain and simple. Well maybe not as simple as it sounds but let me explain.

From the time we reach that age when we begin to notice boys and they begin to notice us we really like them to notice us. We like the attention and their pursuit of us. It makes us feel really special when a guy makes eyes at us, notices the care we took in getting ready that morning, notices our hair or our new outfit.

And guys usually do a great job of pursuing the girls they like too. They wash their car or truck before each date, they make sure they are clean and dressed nice, they probably walk up to the house to pick her up, they open doors, etc. And, if they are really good, nice guys, they treat her like a Princess. And guys, we eat this stuff up because this is what we have been shown by Disney movies since we were toddlers.

Everything goes along like this and you get married. She probably had her dream, fairy tale wedding and felt like that Princess. Prince Charming is wonderful to her on the honeymoon and probably for a good while after. But this is when the problem comes along. Our guy has now caught us. Which is wonderful. However, now that he has the girl something seems to click off in the guy’s head and he no longer feels he needs to pursue the girl.

In black and white it makes perfect sense but it doesn’t to a girl’s heart. We wake up one day and don’t understand what happened. Why doesn’t he do the things he used to do? Why doesn’t he open doors, or wash the car before a date, or even ask us on a date?

I know it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense but I’m telling you what is deep within a woman’s heart and it’s that she wants to be pursued. And I’m just talking about her relationship with her husband. Because I know that God pursues us and loves us. I know there are other relationships. But I’m not talking about them. I’m strictly talking about what we seem to crave…and that’s for our husband to continue to pursue us.

It makes us feel loved and wanted. And it makes us feel like you would choose us all over again. And let me let you in on another little secret…if you pursue your wife, she will most likely start doing on those things she did in the beginning again too. Like anxiously wait on your call and make sure she is beautiful when you come home from work…so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Just try it and see what happens.

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Prayer…

I’m going to let you in on my big, bad, dark secret…

I’m a bad pray-er.  I don’t want to be a bad pray-er…I really, really want to be a prayer warrior.  It’s just that I’m not good at it and I didn’t really know what to do to get better.

I have tried to various things to become better at praying.  But pretty much what ends up happening is I learn a “system” or way to pray and promptly become legalistic about it. You see, I’m a list maker and checker offer.  Once I have a system, it all because just something to check off the list.

I could never figure out what the problem was.  It’s not just about lack of time or commitment but more about motivation and what it should look like.  But no matter what I tried it just didn’t feel right.

Was God really even listening?  Why would He want to hear what I had to say anyway?  Also, I was pretty sure that every time I repented He was thinking, “Here she comes again, confessing the same thing.  Why can’t she learn and get this right?”.  Of course, intellectually I knew that God wasn’t thinking that…but emotionally, well that was a whole different story.

I have been thinking about prayer a lot lately and really wanted to grow in this area of my walk.  And, as He so often does, God seemed to be telling me a lot about prayer lately as well.  (I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I tend to have periods of “themes” in my life.  What I mean is when God really seems to be trying to get a point across to me everything will relate to the one thing, from the sermons i hear, to the books I read, to the music I hear. It’s like I can’t get away from it until I “get it”.)

Well, apparently God has been teaching me much about prayer in the last several weeks.  Usually I am not quite so deep in my blog posts but I had to share what God has taught me in the hopes that if there are others struggling in this area that it might help you as well.

A week ago our morning sermon was entitled, “Pride Comes Before Denial.”  In this sermon, Shawn, our pastor, spoke about the five manifestations of pride.  While these did not directly deal with prayer they all seem to lend themselves to teach something about prayer, or a person with a poor prayer life.

1. Pride argues with Christ even as it expresses allegiance with Christ.
2. Pride dismisses the truth of Scripture on the basis that God doesn’t know or understand our hearts.
3. Pride justifies disobedience on the basis that God doesn’t know or understand our circumstances.
4. Pride exalts ourselves over others (Shawn’s point spoke about exalting ourselves over those with God-given authority over us but with prayer I believe we just exalt ourselves over others period).
5. Pride confesses complete faith in Christ while still depending on one’s own strength and resources.

The next week the sermon was on Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.  There was much that God spoke to me from this sermon but one thing really stood out.  It was the following statement:  [speaking about the prayer to God in the Garden immediately preceding the betrayal of Christ]…This is where the battle was won against Satan.

So this prayer and the resolve that Jesus felt after the prayer is where Satan was defeated?  This really made me think about the POWER of prayer.  Then a little further in the sermon there was this section about Temptation/Spiritual Tragedy that listed the steps that lead to temptation and tragedy.  The steps were as follows:

1. Self confidence [so sure they didn’t feel the need to depend on God in prayer]
2. Spiritual indifference [apathy in the Christian faith which is most characterized by a lack of prayer]
3. Temptation [lack of prayer equals a lack of dependence on God]
4. Sin [temptation gives way to sin as we fail to put on the full armour of God, including prayer]
5. Spiritual tragedy [falling away from our Lord]

At this point I was feeling pretty bad about myself and beat up about my poor prayer life.  I knew what God was telling me through this exposition of His word was to Pray.  Again and again He was bringing me the reasons why I should pray.  But itg was the same question as always…what to do next?

The next Sunday in MIT once again prayer came up.  We are studying The Holy Spirit and Sanctification and look what is on page 97 of the book we are studying:

If we work without the Spirit {to be sanctified}, we will be frustrated. On the other hand, if we leave it all to the Spirit and do not work, we will also end in failure. But combine the Spirit with work; then increasing victory will be ours. The secret of holy living is found in this combination. With it the Christian can have success.   The first work is to pray for a fuller presence of the Holy Spirit and Christ in his life….We may pray in faith for an increased indwelling of the Spirit in our lives, and we shall receive it.  We must remember that prayer is not simply a pious expression of devotion and thanks to God, but it is also a means of power. …It is necessary to persevere, for example – to go to God again and again with the same request.  It is also essential to go believing and expecting that He will answer our prayers, and not simply desiring an answer, thinking at the same time that God will not grant it….Faith is composed of trust as well as of knowledge.

Once again, I was floored by the teaching that God was sending my way about prayer.  The final piece of the puzzle was soon to fall into place for me.

Later that same evening in Tom’s evening sermon the last piece was given to me.  Tom said the following (I’m paraphrasing because I can’t possible write as fast as Tom can preach when he gets going):  You must labor to obey but it is natural and comfortable when you know God’s love through Christ.  What fuels our prayer lives?  When we are saturated in the knowledge of the love of God, our prayer life will be energized.  In our walk of faith, it is all energized and moved when we see the great love and grace to us through Jesus Christ, and the full assurance of our faith.

And therein was my problem with prayer in a nutshell:  I had a problem reconciling how much God loves me.  Growing up with a “fire and brimstone” type pastor, I tended to think of God more as the disciplinarian type Father.  When I sinned, I would feel like I disappointed Him and would actually avoiding God by not praying rather than face Him in His anger.  But that is such a wrong way of thinking.  That is totally leaving out the Love of God and Jesus Christ.  I was focusing on the wrath of Christ and not the love.

How freeing it is to remember that God loves me, He wants to hear from Me, I am his child and He wants me to talk with Him just a sure as I want my children to talk to me.  I can already feel a great change in the way I am thinking about prayer.

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst,
a  mighty One who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will  quiet you by His love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.

 

He’s back…and then gone again…

So, as usual, when I get really stressed busy, I tend to either get crazy or move inward into myself.  Since my last post, apparently I’ve been doing both.  Things are continuing to move on.  We have been extremely busy staying busy doing all the things busy people do:  work, work-out, hanging out with the family, trying to hold it all together.  One thing I have been able to do is to look forward to Bud coming home for vacation.  We finally got the date – 07/30/11 – and started the flurry of activity to prepare for Bud’s arrival.  As usual, I got a little manic trying to get everything that I had determined needed to be done before Bud’s arrival.

Finally the day arrived!  What was really strange to me is that by the night before I was TOTALLY nervous.  Strange.  This is my husband of 25 years I was waiting on.  But there it is…I was feeling as nervous as I did on our first date.

After about an hour wait, Bud finally came up the escalator!!!  Bella, Joey, and I were so excited to see Bud.  Poor Bud…he looked like he felt horrible.  We came to find out that he hadn’t slept in about 30 hours and he got some sort of food poisoning or something on the plane and had puked for six hours of the flight.  Needless to say, Bud wasn’t feeling his best.  Add to that some lost luggage in case that wasn’t enough.

However, a nice three hour nap in the car on the way home helped him tremendously.

Once Bud was home he was quickly mobbed by the dogs.  They were SO excited to see him.  So were his parents and assorted family and friends.

I had a fabulous week with Bud.  Of course, God couldn’t resist using this situation to sanctify me a little bit more.  I learned (after some stress) to just enjoy.  To quit planning, quit stressing when things didn’t go the way I envisioned, and just enjoy every moment we had together.  After I finally got that, it ended up being everything I hoped for.  However, it was much, much too short.  And the next thing we knew it was time for him to go again.  Both Bud and I were sad it was over so fast, but it was much easier this time as he should only be there for approximately 2 months.

I feel like we were given such a gift during this time together. It was so much fun to feel that nervousness and excitement from the beginning of our relationship.  Most people don’t get to feel that after 25 years of marriage and 31 years of being together.  It was wonderful to feel that again.

I thank God for the gift of my husband and I can’t wait until he’s back again!

My Other Half…

So when you’re not looking, life just moves along.   Mine mostly seems to be going in circles while I’m waiting for my husband to return to from Korea.  Every week I get up every morning at 7:00 a.m., get ready for work, go to work, work all day, come home from work, do laundry, do dishes, put medicine in the dogs ears, pay bills, try to decide if I want to cook, go grocery shopping, read my Bible….and on and on and on.

Usually I have to talk myself into doing some of these things every time I need to do them.  Mostly because I feel like I’m in a rut.  I don’t think it’s because I don’t like doing these things – some I do, some I don’t.  I pretty much think it’s because I’m missing my other half.   The pop in life is gone down to a fizzle.  The colors have all turned a little anemic.

I have gotten all kinds of reactions about missing my husband.  Most people ask me how I’m doing and how much I miss Bud.  But you would be surprised by the number of people who think I should be enjoying every minute that he is gone.  They think this should be one big party.  I’m not complaining about them, mind you.  I’m mostly confused as to why people would think that. 

I think a lot of it is people don’t have a concept of how long nine months really is in the scheme of everyday life.  The following things will happen or have happened already since Bud has been gone:

  • * His Dad has had chemotherapy and radiation.
  • * Brown Dog died.
  • * I had my 46th birthday.
  • * Joey had his 21st birthday.
  • * Valentine’s Day.
  • * Mother’s Day.
  • * His dad’s birthday.
  • * Spring.
  • * He will miss our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
  • * We will miss his 47th birthday.
  • * We will miss being with him on Father’s Day.
  • * He will miss his Dad’s surgery.
  • * He will miss Bella’s 24th birthday.
  • * He will miss his mother’s birthday.
  • * He will miss Independence day.
  • * He will miss ALL of Summer.
  • * He will miss both Memorial day and Labor day.
  • * He will miss approximately 72 Sunday church services at Morningview.

Those are just the big things.  And there is a big hole every time he misses something. 

Don’t get me wrong – I am SO grateful that God has given Bud this opportunity.  I am also sure that God is using this time to grow our family and each one of us.  I believe God is using Bud in a big way to witness to people in Korea and to provide leadership in the church he is attending there.  And for all that I am glad.  But I can’t wait until he is here with us again.  I miss him.

Fresh Cut Grass…

fresh cut grassWhenever I take one of those quizzes that seem to get passed around via email or Facebook, there always seems to be a question asking what your favorite smell is. Invariably, I always have the same answer – Fresh Cut Grass. A lot of people seem perplexed by this answer and want to know the reason behind it. So here it is…

One of the earliest memories I have is of my daddy. I was around 3 years old, no older than four. I know this because we still lived in Colorado, where I was born and lived until I was four. I was in the backyard and I was swinging on the swing set. My daddy was cutting the grass in the backyard. He had told me that the only way I could be in the backyard while he was mowing was to stay on the swing.

So that’s what I did…I swung and swung and swung the whole time my daddy was cutting the grass. It was spring or summer at the time. I remember the sun shining but it wasn’t too hot or too cool. The sky was a most beautiful blue color. The breeze was blowing by as I went back and forth. The only sound was the sound of the lawnmower.

And the smell…it was wonderful: this fresh, sharp smell of the grass. It smelled clean and, I can’t describe it any other way but green. This smell is all wrapped around in my mind with memories of my daddy. If I smell fresh cut grass he is all I think about. I don’t think that there is really a way to separate the two. It’s all about the emotions of those particular moments of time.

That memory is one of the few memories I have where I can remember exactly how I felt right then. I remember the happiness of being outside with my daddy. I remember how free I felt. I had none of the weight of responsibilities, worries. I knew that there was nothing to worry about or to fear because my daddy was there and I was safe. I just was in the moment and enjoying the moment.

This is such a blessing to have this memory. I think that when my daddy is no longer here on this earth, this will be what I remember more than anything else.

I try to remember this when I think about my Heavenly Father too. I have the same innocence and sense of complete protection from God. I have no weight of responsibilities and worries because I have nothing to worry about or fear because my Father is here and I am safe. I am just in the moment and enjoying the moment. And I thank my Heavenly Father for my earthly father who first made me see these things.

The Letter (or What’s Really Important)….

When my mother was dying, I went to visit her in California. We both knew at that point that it was the last time we would ever see each other alive. As such, it was extremely hard for us to communicate what we wanted/needed to say to each other without breaking down and crying. My parent’s pastor at the time suggested that we write letters to each other; so that’s what we did.

After my mother died, my dad returned the letter I had written to my mother to me. I also had the letter she had written to me. That letter has been one of my most precious possessions. It is just one page, front and back. The handwriting is hard to read because my mom was so weak when she wrote it. It doesn’t even look much like her handwriting. There are also big water spots that blur the writing scattered over the page. I’m not sure now which of these tear marks are hers and which are mine.

I always kept the letter in a little wooden box along with my letter to my mother and other really special precious things that probably have no value to anyone else in the world but me. So imagine my surprise and dismay when I looked in the box and the letter wasn’t there. I looked everywhere. I tore my whole bedroom up. I looked through every Bible cover I owned just in case I put it in there. I was devastated and finally just had a big, fat cry. Joey and Bud were home at the time and both were upset by my reaction.

For the past six to eight months, I have just tried to forget about the letter. I had prayed and prayed for God to show me where it was. But He didn’t. It was gone. Some evil person had come into my bedroom and stolen it for some unknown reason. I would never get to read it again. Every time I thought about the letter I would get upset. It was almost like losing my mother all over again. So…I would just try to forget about it.

Two weekends ago I decided to clean out my bedroom closet. My poor closet is pretty tiny and crammed full to the hilt. I have to change out clothes between my bedroom closet and the closet in the living room by season. My closet doesn’t just house clothes but also purses, shoes, luggage, journals, and bible studies. I had neglected to clean out my closet the last year, so it was about to burst at the seams.

I dedicated a whole Saturday to cleaning the closet. I didn’t even get dressed in the morning so I couldn’t trick myself into doing something else. I had to be done and today was the day. The first thing I decided to do was organize the two shelves on either side over the clothes. The journals and bible studies had started out on one of the lower shelves, but I decided to move them up to the top shelf since I didn’t need to grab them easily as I was dressing each day.

After the top shelf had been cleaned up of all the junk residing there, I started moving bible study books and journals. Of course, as usual, I picked up way more than I could realistically move. And dropped a whole stack. So I had to climb down off of the chair I was using for a ladder and bend down and start picking up books. As I picked up one of the bible study books, two letters fell out. And guess what they were? One was THE LETTER. The second one was the letter Ruth, my biological mother, had written me about the day I was born.

I was ecstatic. I stopped then and there and told God thank you! I also probably did a much better job cleaning out my closet because I realized what was really important and it wasn’t all that junk in my closet.

It’s funny when you finally realize what is important. A line in the song Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, says “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the one I love.” That is so me! Probably so you, too. I am so easily distracted by the things of this world. And this just brought me right back to God. Right back to His goodness and mercy. Right back to His holiness and justice. Right back to what is important. Our love for each other.  A dying mother’s love for her daughter and that daughter’s love for her mother. God’s love for us and our love for God.

And all I can think is God is so good….all of the time!

Legacy of an Adopted Child…

This is a poem that someone once shared with me. It sums it up well.

Once there were two women
Who never knew each other
One you do not remember
The other you call mother
Two different lives
Shaped to make yours one
One becoming your guiding star
The other became your sun.
The first gave you life
The second one taught you to live in it
The first gave you a need for love
The second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality
The other gave you a name
One gave you the seed of talent
The other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears.
One gave you up –
It was all she could do
The other prayed for a child,
And God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me through your tears
The age-old questions
Through the years;
Heredity or environment
Which you are the product of?
Neither, my darling – neither
Just two different kinds of love.