Category Archives: Reconciliation

Rebuilt and Replanted

100_4548

Earlier this summer, my husband and I celebrated our 45th Wedding Anniversary.   We were newlyweds in the early 1970’s,  an era enriched with the beautiful music preformed by Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard.   They told our story in We’ve Only Just Begun*:  “…White lace and promises.  A kiss for luck and we’re on our way.”  They expressed our dreams in For All We Know**:  “…We’ve got a lifetime to share.  So much to say…Let’s take a lifetime to say I knew you well…And love may grow for all we know.”

Our promises and dreams were godly, and we sought God’s blessing and invoked His help.  It is good we did.  For life happened.  Demands and stresses within and without took a toll on our marriage, which nearly failed.  (You can read our story by going to the book page of this website.)    We’ve had a lifetime to know each other well and see our love mature and grow because of the God we trusted.

“Then the Nations around you that remain will know that I , the Lord, have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate.  I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.”   Ezekiel 36:36

In this, our 45th year of life together, Howard and I honor the God who rebuilt and replanted our marriage, the God  who spoke and did what He said He could do!

* written by Nicolas,Roger S./Williams, Paul H.

**  written by Bunch, John/Colbert, Joshua/Cordoba,Derick/Neptune, Cha

Did you like this? Share it:

New Beginnings

100_3783

This blog is dedicated to The One I love.  The One who makes all things new.  The Author of springtime, new mornings, and new beginnings.

Long ago that Author resurrected my marriage one Easter morning. ( You can read my story on the book page of this website.)   Before He could renew my relationship with my husband, a stone needed to be rolled away.  It was a large, heavy stone, a boulder really.  That massive blockage was resentment, and the force essential to removing it was forgiveness.

I approach this Easter with another relationship that is at risk for death without forgiveness.  Although I have apologized and asked to be forgiven, the person I hurt has not extended forgiveness.

Now I struggle with regret which is made worse by my desire to be perfect, my delusion that if I just try hard enough, if I do all the right things, I can be perfect.  I can endlessly obsess over what I did.  Why did I do that?  How could I have been so stupid?  If only I hadn’t done that.  If only I could live that day over.  If only, if only, if only, and the regret  strangles my joy.

I have always found it easier to forgive others than to forgive myself.   Perhaps the ability to accept God’s forgiveness, to embrace it, and to start over is dependent on my forgiving myself, the way God forgives me.

I think that before I can grieve the loss of this relationship and move forward,  I am going to have to forgive myself and get over being imperfect.

Lately, The One who makes all things new, has been reminding me of some great advice from the apostle Paul.  “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”                   (Philippians 3: 13 & 14)

Lord Jesus, thank you for forgiving me.  Please give me grace to forgive myself, to leave the past with its regrets behind, and to strain forward for what lies ahead.  Let me let you love me and let me let you restore me. Amen

Did you like this? Share it:

To Start All Over Again

100_3439

“And now, here’s what I am going to do:
I’m going to start all over again.
I’m taking her back out into the wilderness
where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.
I’ll give her bouquets of roses…

And then I’ll marry you for good—forever!
I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness.
Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go.
You’ll know me, GOD, for who I really am.”

    From Hosea 2, The Message, The Bible In Contemporary Language

The young woman, engaged to be married soon, had questions about salvation and eternal life.  She addressed the pastor, the teacher at our house church,   “Is it true?  All I need to do is accept Jesus as my Savior?  Ask him into my heart?  Is it that simple?”

The wise, discerning teacher gazed at her kindly and said, “Yes and no.   It is more like getting married.   You make a commitment to follow Jesus. ”

The story of the nation of Israel, as told by Hosea, is the story of a bride who was unfaithful, who left God, her husband, for other gods.   God can’t live without her and chooses to heal her wayward ways and then re-marry her.  This metaphor is the salvation story.  All of us have forsaken God for other gods.  We can’t receive His healing and forgiveness, freely given in the death and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, until we admit our wayward behavior and confess our need.   Then we can commit ourselves to the God who wants to marry us true and proper, in love and tenderness.  The God who wants to be known for who He really is.

What is true for us in our relationship with the One and Only Living God is also true for us in our human marriages.  God woos us, courts us, pursues us, all to win us back.   After betrayal of any sort in our marriages, the way of starting over will require humility, confession, healing and forgiveness.   Courtship, dating and roses will be important.   How can we do any less for our spouse, when the Creator of the Universe has gone to such lavish, extravagant measures to win us back and secure our  love and commitment.

Did you like this? Share it:

The Reconnection

Is the reconnection in relationships accomplished through reconciliation?  One of Webster’s definitions of reconciliation is to settle or resolve a dispute.  God is resolving his dispute with mankind.  In his son’s sacrifice on the cross, humans can be reconciled to God and to one another.   A vertical beam bridging us upward to the Heavenly Father, and a cross beam bridging us horizontally to one another.

Hear the word of God on this matter:  * “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  *God, … has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  * God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

*Reading for February 28th from Daily Light, copyright 1998, by Anne Graham Lotz.  John 3:16, 2 Cor 5:18-21, and I John 4:8-11

Did you like this? Share it:

Sarah’s Daughter

I was born the daughter  of an alcoholic, and the home I grew up in bred fear.  I learned to avoid fear by control.  That need to control everything threatened the harmony in my marriage, but God rescued my marriage by calling me to become Sarah’s daughter, to become like her by doing what was right and not giving way to fear.  (See I Peter 3.)

What did Sarah do that was right?   How did Sarah not give way to fear?   She obeyed Abraham, her husband,  when he made a choice that put her in a fear producing situation.  (See Genesis 12:10-20.)  God delivered Sarah from that situation miraculously, for Sarah’s hope was in God, not in Abraham.

I became more quiet and gentle in my soul and in my relationship with my husband, as I became more acquainted with the trustworthiness of of my God and transferred the wellspring of my hope from my husband to him.    That hope enabled me to yield to my husband, as to the Lord and for the Lord’s sake.   I learned to first assertively speak the truth in love to my husband about decisions before us and then to yield to him.  Sometimes I have slipped back to the old way of control and disharmony, but the discomfort of fear and anxiety have been powerful motivators to return to the way of peace.

Did you like this? Share it:

The Reconnection

Connecting the upper and lower pennisulas of Michigan

I crossed the Mackinaw Bridge, which connects the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan, in April and again in June.  I had to put my fears aside to drive this 5 mile suspension bridge, high over Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on the other.  I counted the cost and weighed it against the benefit: it frightened me but was worth avoiding Chicago with its traffic and tolls.

The reconnection in our relationships is like that.  There is a gap that has to be bridged.  It requires counting the cost and finding it a small price to pay for the benefit.  It might mean having to repent and change.  It might mean having to forgive and let go.   The benefit is the restored relationship.  When my relationship with my husband was broken, Jesus was my bridge; He called me to forgive.  Have you experienced a broken relationship? How did you reconnect?

Did you like this? Share it:

Doors to Christian Faith

Howard and I recently toured Fort Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, Michigan.  This door out of the Fort leads to beautiful Lake Michigan.

One of the doors to Christian faith can be the testimony of a friend or a fellow sojourner.  Our testimony is that Jesus can make a lifeless marriage new and that He can give a couple power to keep their vows and live a life of love, as described in I Corinthians 13.  We share our story on the book page of this blog in the hope that you would believe in Him because of our testimony.  We also hope that you, like the Samaritans, will be able to say, ” We no longer believe just because of what you said: now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”  (John 4:42)

Did you like this? Share it:

Stronger Faith as a Christian

“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

My husband and I were married on June 20, 1970.  We were three strands – a husband, a wife, and Jesus in a covenant relationship.  Our journey together has had many ups and downs.  If you have visited the book page of this blog and read our story, Beginning Again, you know that our marriage died and was resurrected by the power of  The Third Strand, Jesus Christ.   Having lived this story, I emerged with stronger faith as a Christian.

Do you think we can grow our own faith?  Or do you think God grows it in us, as we cry out to Him during the most difficult and painful periods of our lives and find Him sufficient for our needs?  Can faith grow apart from trials and suffering?

 

 

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Spiritual Conflict

I was outside doing yard work on April 27th. As I walked among the wild flowers and dandelions, I was surrounded by butterflies, perhaps 20 or 30. The next day the migrating Red Admiral butterflies were gone. I was thankful that my Heavenly Father made sure I saw them as they passed through my community.

The caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly reminds me of a favorite scripture. “Therefore,if anyone is in Christ,he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (II Corinthians 5:17)

Christian couples are in the midst of spiritual conflict. The enemy of their souls plots to destroy their marriages. There is hope. The God of Reconciliation is powerful to save.

I became a new creation when God reconciled me to Himself through Christ. My marriage became a new creation when God reconciled me to my husband. The story of our reconciliation is on the book page of this blog.

Did you like this? Share it:

The Reconnection

Forgiveness is powerful.  It makes new beginnings possible.  It keeps relationships viable.

Forgiveness was the reconnection to my husband when our marriage had died.   Forgiving my husband was an act of obedience to Jesus who gave His life for me on a gruesome cross so that I might know the forgiveness of God.   The story of my surrender to Jesus, for the sake of my soul and the sake of my marriage, one Easter morning many years ago has been published on the book page of this blog.

 

Did you like this? Share it: