All posts in Family

The beginning of the new school year brought back a memory for me of my oldest son starting a new school.  It wasn’t the beginning of the school year, it was actually towards the end, but it was a new school to him because we had just moved to Florida from New York.

I remember sitting in the school administration office with him waiting for his class assignment. He sat so still, trying to be brave but I noticed him chewing away at the inside of his cheek, betraying his nervousness.  It was killing me!  I wanted to scoop him up in my arms and assure him that it was going to be okay and that I wouldn’t sign him up to do something that wasn’t good for him.  But he was in 1st grade and already too old for overtly public displays of affection from his mother! I knew that he was a smart boy and that he would make friends easily and in no time at all would feel right at home. He did not share my confidence.

Have you ever felt like God signed you up for something that makes you chew your cheek, or bite your nails, or do whatever it is you do when you get nervous?  Have you ever felt that pang of anxiety when stepping out into a new venture?  The other side of familiar is frightening, a little nerve-wracking at best. But if God is leading you there, (that’s a BIG “if” by the way so you want to be sure about that before you start) you can rest assured that you are prepared and that ultimately it will be for your good.

This morning I was reading Deuteronomy 8 – a great chapter on this topic!! God often signs us up for things that test us and humble us but it is to bring us to a place of tremendous blessing if we persevere and follow as He leads. There is way too much good stuff here to write in one blog so I encourage you to take time to read it if you can.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. ~Deuteronomy 8:7-9

I want to go there, don’t you?

My brother-in-law is running for public office.  During his campaign many hours have been logged onto the books for speaking to groups, developing mail pieces and getting his name out. His weekends have been spent canvasing neighborhoods meeting potential, future constituents in hopes of winning their votes.

He did not enter this race halfheartedly.  He has not wasted any time aimlessly wandering around because he knew that in order to win he needed to be very intentional and strategic. He had his eye on the prize.

God has set out a race for each of us to run. (If you’re not sure what that is start asking Him – because He has a purpose just for you!)  In order to be effective and win the prize we have to be intentional and strategic as well.

24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step…  1 Cor 9:24-26

One huge advantage that we have is that our race has been completely mapped out for us by the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus, and if we fix our eyes on Him we will find the strength and endurance to run to win!

My brother-in-law has worked hard. We are confident he will win but we must wait for the final votes to be tallied. The party has been planned, the food and balloons have been ordered. Tonight, a crowd will gather with great anticipation of a celebration.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us that we, also, are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses to this race we are running, this life of faith.  They are cheering us on from heavenly stands.  The food and balloons have been ordered ~ and they are ready for our victory party!! So what are we waiting for?  Let’s get moving.

Let’s run to win!!!

When Danny and I started dating (for the 3rd time)I knew that there was something different about him.  He had been so consistent in his pursuit of me that I knew I couldn’t just take our relationship lightly as I had with some of the other guys I had dated in between. And that scared me a little. So in order to avoid being alone with him and having to have any serious conversations I would always invite friends along whenever he asked me to go out.  He would come to pick me up and I would have a bunch of people with me and would say something like…”you don’t mind if they come along do you???”  He did, but he never said so.

Then one day he invited me to go lunch to a cute little town called Port Jefferson – on his motorcyle.

He was on to me! And he had taken measures to make sure he could get me alone. It was a defining date for us.  It was a time when we got away from the masses of people that I always surrounded myself with and it was just us – alone. At last he had my full attention. (I think he also enjoyed the fact that I had to wrap my arms around him and hold on tight as we rode- I know I did!)

I can go days, sometimes weeks, when the craziness of life pulls me away from time alone with God – time when He has my full attention.  The passage in Mark 6 describes a time when Jesus and the disciples were surrounded by so many people all the time that they couldn’t even carve out time to eat – I have had days like that haven’t you?

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

We need that time of rest alone with Jesus, when we can talk to him or maybe more importantly just listen.  I think sometimes He longs to take us away to a place where we can be alone just like Danny did when he wanted my full attention. (some things never change…Danny still needs to take me away on his motorcyle sometimes!)

I want to encourage you to take Him up on that invitation.  Get away from all the distractions – even the good stuff and find some time to just be alone with the one who loves you so much and wants that time with you.  You will find rest, even if it’s just some mental rest, and you will feel refreshed and ready to take on all that is waiting for you when you get back.

Wishing you rest today….

June 8, 1985

Last night my husband asked me if we could have a coffee date at Panera this morning to start off our Anniversary day. After sitting across from him and feeling all warm and fuzzy because his green eyes still make my heart melt after all these years, I posted a comment on Facebook about him being “the most loving, patient handsome man in the world,” to which I got an overwhelming response of well-wishers ~ so sweet!

I also got a private message that reminded me that not everyone’s experience in marriage is as happy.

I met a man the other day that was commending me on the length of my marriage and said, “Wow you must have a lot in common.” Although Danny and I do have a lot in common, there are many more ways that we are different. Having things in common is not the reason we are still together.

Danny and I both come from backgrounds where our parents were divorced. That is our history. We made a decision going into our marriage that that would not be our story and that we would stop that cycle in our generation. It is that decision that we have fallen back on on the days that his green eyes were not making me melt or when his patience was being seriously tried by me.

The reason that our marriage works and I believe the reason that our love grows is simply because we have made God the center of it. When an issue comes up and trust me we have issues …we are both committed to going to the word of God to see what it says and we use that as a guide to direct how we handle the situation. More times than not it requires dying to our own selfish desires in order to put the other person first and it almost always requires forgiveness on one or both parts that comes only from God. We are two imperfect people trying hard to live up to God’s standards, failing miserably at times but offering grace (not always immediately!) to each other when we do. The day that either one of us stops doing this we are in serious trouble. Marriage is fragile – we know that and we guard it fiercely.

I would have to write a book in order to record all that we’ve learned in 27 years and although we are not the starry eyed 20 year olds that took our vows that rainy day in 1985, our love is deeper and stronger than it was then and it grows more every year.

It breaks my heart that this is not the story of every married couple and I know the only reason that it works for us is because we both share the same resolve. I have watched many people that I love dearly and respect tremendously try to fight for their marriage by themselves but it takes both parties being fully committed. I wish I had the answer of how to make that happen. What I do know is that even when things fall apart God heals and restores!

I thank God every day for the beautiful gift that He has given me in my marriage. It is my greatest earthly treasure (including my amazing children who are part of the package deal) but I also know without Him we’d be a mess!