Category Archives: Starting Over

Rebuilt and Replanted

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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

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A New Creation

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Can a person be so broken, that healing and wholeness seem hopeless – that ever knowing peace and true joy again is despaired of? Perhaps in the realm of the human, but in the realm of the Spirit of Christ, all things are possible. He is the one who proclaims that he makes all things NEW.

I recently read, Unbroken, A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand. It is the story of Olympian runner Louie Zamperini whose life was broken by the ravages of war and the horrors of life in a Japanese prison camp. He survived and returned home, alive, but in reality dead to any meaningful life. He suffered from crippling, disabling flashbacks, nightmares, and alcoholism.

In 1949 Louie attended the Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles. Laura Hillenbrand documented his testimony of the morning after the crusade on page 376: “Resting in the shade and the stillness, Louie felt profound peace. When he thought of his history, what resonated with him now was not all that he had suffered but the divine love that he believed had intervened to save him. He was not the worthless, broken, forsaken man that the Bird had striven to make him. In a single, silent moment, his rage, his fear, his humiliation, and helplessness had fallen away. That morning, he believed he was a new creation.” Ms. Hillenbrand documented that he never had another flashback or nightmare of his prison guard, the Bird, once again assaulting him.

I highly recommend reading this book. One cannot fully appreciate Louie’s transformation without comprehending the depths of his suffering.

You can make of Louie’s transformation what you will, but I see it as an apologetic of the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17!

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New Beginnings

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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

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To Start All Over Again

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“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.

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Starting Over

Many years ago the fabric of our marriage wore out and pulled away.   Like our patchwork quilt,  starting over required piecing together a few key, recurring colors to design a new relationship that would be durable and beautiful.  In God’s storehouse we found repentance and forgiveness, grace and mercy.       They worked.   As long as we have continued to stitch them into our relationship, we have known joy and strength as a married couple.

You can read our story of starting over by going to the book page of this website.

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Power to Begin Again

“To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”  (John 1: 12-13)

Perhaps your marriage is in shambles.  Perhaps your life is falling apart.  Or maybe you feel hopeless and don’t know where to turn or who to turn to.   There is hope.  There is  a Gospel.  Power that saves.  Power to change.  Power to follow Jesus who died to give us the right to become the sons and daughters of God and abundant life in the here and now and forever.  When we receive Jesus, he gives us his indwelling Holy Spirit.   Paul teaches us in Ephesians that this power is like the power that raised Jesus back to life and seated him at God’s right hand in the heavenly realm.  God loves you.  His will is to adopt you, help you, give you wisdom, give you his very life.   Cry out to him

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Starting Over

The difficulty in starting over in restoring broken relationships or recovering from addictions is power.   The cliche, just do it, sounds good but denies the truth that we humans often find ourselves powerless to accomplish what we believe is best for ourselves.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, said,  “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”  (Romans 1:16)  In Romans 10:9 he explained, “”If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.””

God doesn’t just forgive us, when we believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus on our behalf, he gives us the same power that raised Christ back to life – the power that saves, the power to change, the power to make new.  As I reflect on that good news this morning, I rejoice that Christ Followers are blessed with glorious hope for the here and now, as well as, the certainty of a home in heaven.

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Starting Over in Male-Female Relationships

 

The trees and shrubs in our woodland are blooming.  The leaves are that lovely, soft shade of spring green. My piece of Eden is beautiful, and I am grateful for eyes to witness this change of seasons.

Starting over in male-femaie relationships requires change. Behaviors that destroyed the intimacy and partnership need to be abandoned and new behaviors that are life-giving need to be learned and practiced.

I talk about the changes my husband and I made in our marriage in the story on the book page of my blog.

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New at Easter

 

 

Alleluia, The SON is Risen.   May you know His resurrection power and joy.

He who was seated on the throne, said, “I am making everything new!”  Revelation 21:5

One Easter many years ago,  the Risen Savior made my marriage new.   You can read about this miracle on the book page of this blog.

 

 

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Starting Over in Male-Female Relationships

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”  I John 1:7

There was a time when our marriage was encased in darkness.  The darkness was an oppression, a kind of heaviness that pressed out the life and separated us.  I was oblivious to the darkness and oppression.   I only knew that my love for my husband had died.  God, in His grace, called a friend to pray for us.  After she prayed, I sensed a weight had been lifted.  I was  “lighter” as light again surrounded us and the darkness fled.  My husband and I, by the grace of God chose to walk in the light.  Walking in the light required repentance and forgiveness.  It made starting over a reality.

You can read how we started over by going to the book page of this blog.

 

 

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