Category Archives: Ongoing Vitality

Love While You May


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Recently my husband said to me, “I looked up the definition of love in the dictionary and saw your picture.”

This is praise I feel unworthy of.   The number of days left to love him have always been uncertain, unknown, but now when the possibility of fewer rather than more days looms large against the diagnosis of his lymphoma in stage 3, I wish I had always loved him well.  I know I didn’t, and his love for me is evident in the mercy he has extended me over our life together.   So today, younger and older women, love your husbands well.  Honor them.  Respect them.  Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. Pray for them.  Cherish each day and each moment you are given.

I am reminded of the beautiful music and lyrics of Bill and Gloria Gaither, We Have This Moment Today.   “Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today.”

Today is the day to love.  Tomorrow may never come.  Love while you may.

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Fences and Friendship

“The wires are holding hands around the holes… with holes they make a fence…Lord, there are lots of holes in my life.  There are some in the lives of my neighbors.  But if you wish, we shall hold hands…”                                                  The Wire Fence from  Prayers by Micheal Quoist.

Families, churches, communities holding hands around the holes, making fences, creating and sustaining safety and security.

There are many people who have held their hands around my holes and secured my life.  One of those people was Chris, my sister-in-law, the one who gave me Prayers in 1968.  She and my brother, her husband, shared a rich friendship.  I was in 9th grade the year Jack brought her home to meet the family.  One morning while overhearing them talk, I dreamed a dream: one day I would marry a friend and we would talk like Chris and Jack.  God honored that dream.  I married my dearest friend.   The friendship has held through all the storms of married life.   My husband and I have held hands around the holes in our lives.

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Easter Prayer

In one of my husband’s favorite resurrection testimonies, two sad and puzzled followers of Jesus say, “Stay with us…”  (Luke 24:29)

It was almost evening on the first day of the week.   Two of those who had followed Jesus were walking on the road to Emmaus, discussing their questions and disappointment over what had just happened in Jerusalem that passover.  The newly resurrected teacher joined them on the road, but they did not recognize him.  He asked them what they were talking about and then explained from all their scriptures, starting with Moses, that the Messiah would have to suffer before he entered his glory.   Their hearts burned within as he taught.  As they reached their destination, they asked him to stay and share their supper.   He took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it.   In that moment their eyes were opened and they recognized their Jesus, alive again.

Andrew Murray once inspired me with these words regarding the salvation of my children, “Abide in Christ, and let the child feel that to be near you is to be near Christ. Live in the power of the love and the redemption, and the life of Christ; your house will be to the child the ark where Christ is known and found.”*

Glorious Lord, Risen Savior, this Easter Morning, Howard and I ask you again to stay with us, abide with us.  Fill our home with your light and your love.  Teach us, set our hearts on fire, break bread with us.  May all who enter the ark of our home feel they have been with you.   For the Glory of your name and for the sake of your kingdom.  Amen.

* How to Raise Your Children For Christ

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A Morning Cross

Morning light on Maundy Thursday making a cross on my bedroom curtains, reminding me of the Lord’s sacrifice for me, reminding me of his words.  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)   I remember he washed his disciples’ feet and told them that the way to happiness would be found in copying his example.  I remember that walking the way of the cross will make me a blessing to my husband, children, grandchildren, friends and community.

Oh, Lord, thank you for giving up your life so that I might live.  Empower me to take up my cross and follow you.   Forgive my selfishness; let me die to my own agendas,  yield to your will and serve others as you do.  Enable me to keep my eyes on you today.   By your power, let me live to forgive, to serve, to love as you do.  I love you, Beautiful Lord Jesus.

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Real Love

Weddings.  A man and a woman gazing at each other while making promises.  Then the husband and wife, holding hands, turn outward and face their community of family and friends as the pastor introduces them as a new couple.   The reality of their love waits to be proven in the way they serve their community together.   Real love is never selfish.   Antoine de Saint-Exupery says,  “Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.”  *

I wanted to share that quotation .   How did it go exactly?   Who wrote it?   The quotation was in an old book which I couldn’t find on our book shelves.    I mentioned this problem to my husband who began searching for the book in all the places it might be.   After an hour long hunt, he discovered the book, that had been his mother’s,  in a bin of his parent’s things stored in the back of one of our closets.

We want to share a love that keeps us holding hands while looking outward in the same direction,  a love that compels us to serve our community.   As part of that outward focus, I write this blog with my husband’s assistance.  He edits each post before I publish it.   His hunt to help me find the quotation I inserted earlier in this post is a sign he endeavors to live that kind of a love.

* Best Loved Poems From Ideals

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Christian Marriage As A Metaphor

Building a Christian marriage and home was a daunting task.   In those early years I was often at the end of my rope, crying out for help and wisdom.   Next to the Bible, the most helpful book I read was How To Raise Your Children For Christ by Andrew Murray.  This key paragraph from his book impacted me profoundly: “God created man in His image, male and female.  In the home on earth, in the love of husband and wife, of parent and child, were to be reflected the love and blessedness of the Father’s home in heaven.  The deepest secrets of the Godhead in the fellowship of the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit were to be shown in the family.”

God used Andrew Murray to teach me how the relationships in our home were meant to be a metaphor of the love and unity that exists in heaven between Father God,  God the Son, and God the Spirit.   The drama of our home life was created to tell a glorious story to a watching world.  This metaphor had a divine mission.  To fail to reflect this love in our home was to mar God’s picture of heaven, to invalidate the truth of his gospel.  I sometimes failed but not always.   Knowing I was meant to be a divine metaphor kept me returning to the sacred way of love as a wife and mother.

After 42 years of marriage, I still try to make my love for my husband a metaphor of heaven.  I owe it to God to reflect a clear, sharp picture for a watching world.

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Love Is A Gift

Our step grandson faced a dilemma around whether to stay in the United States and work towards his citizenship or return to Brazil where his fiance lives.  He grappled with his possible choices and how those decisions could impact the future.  His inner turmoil gave way to peace when he concluded, ” I can build my future, but I can’t build my love.”    He realized that the love he shares with his kindred spirit, his best friend,  is a gift – a breathing, living reality that needs to be nurtured and cared for.   He realized that he could build a career in either country.   This wisdom guided him back to  Brazil to enter into a covenant relationship with the beautiful young woman and to build their future there.

Love is a gift, and love is a choice.  It can be neglected, or it can be cared for.  It can grow, or it can die.  It needs the protection of promises made and kept.   Faith in God is rich soil in which the roots of love are supported and strengthened.  Prayer and Scripture are sunshine and water.   When cared for and protected, this gift grows more beautiful, more glorious as the years pass by.  This gift becomes a tree whose fruit and shade bless a future generation and the community where it is planted.

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Marriage As An Apprentice

“‘As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said,  ” and I will make you fishers of men”   At once they left their nets and followed him.””   (Mark 1:16-18)   According to Luke 4:11, “they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”

Following Jesus, being his apprentice, comes first.  Being a wife comes second.  Keeping that order keeps my marriage alive.   As I listen to The Teacher and learn to think like he does, it changes how I think about my husband.  As I watch The Master and learn to act like he does, it changes how I act toward my husband.   As I love Jesus most and best, I love my husband better and better.  How do you think your marriage might be enriched or re-born by following Jesus?

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Gratitude and Relationships

In The Good and Beautiful Life, author James Bryan Smith writes:  ” Joy. Gratitude. Thanksgiving.  Grace.  These are kingdom words. When we live with God in his kingdom, we begin to love our life. ”   He continues to make his point by quoting Rob Bell:  “Gratitude is so central to the life God made us for.  Until we can center ourselves on what we do have, on what God has given us, on the life we do get to live, we will constantly be looking for another life.”   Dr.  Smith ends his argument and paragraph by saying, “Lust is really about spiritual hunger for God and his kingdom.  Therefore our sexual problems are resolved when we enroll as Jesus’ apprentices in his glorious kingdom.”

I wonder how enriched my marriage would be, if I determined to be grateful for the strengths my husband has, rather than long for the strengths I think he lacks.   I wonder how all my relationships would be, if I was grateful for who the people in my life are, rather than expecting them to meet my needs.  I think about how happy I would be, if I trusted God to be the one who meets all my needs.   This Thanksgiving season I am determined to quit lusting after another life and praise God for all aspects of this life he has given me.

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How Do I Begin Again?

How do I begin again or start over?  Yesterday I quoted Romans 10:9   What does it mean to confess, “Jesus is Lord,” with my mouth and believe in my heart that he is alive and reigns as King?  Does it mean I will have to admit that I have gone my own way and not his?  Does it mean I will need to change directions?  Does it mean I will need to listen to what he says – that I will accept his counsel and follow his directions?  I answer yes to all those questions, and then, as I confess and believe, I find he gives me grace and power to admit my sin and to follow him.  I begin and live a life in his kingdom under his banner of love.  This is Good News.  I live to share it.  I invite you to get acquainted with Jesus and to find out for yourself that he is The Way of New Beginnings.  Begin by reading the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

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