Tag Archives: Marriage

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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Falling In Love Every Morning

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I recently watched a Hallmark movie titled: Remember Sunday.  The story was about a man who had suffered a cerebral aneurism and consequently lost his capacity to store memories.  He remembered all that had happened before his cerebral bleed but nothing afterward.  Each morning he awoke with no recall of yesterday.  To manage this challenge, he left himself notes on a computer and a note by his alarm clock to check his computer file first thing each morning.  He met a young woman whom he learned to love.   A long term relationship meant awakening each morning with no memory of her and only notes to remind himself that he had this relationship.  One morning while running with his brother he asked him whether it was possible to fall in love every day.  His brother’s wistful response was a rhetorical question – isn’t that what we all want?

Ah, what a question indeed.   Is that what all married couples long for?  Is it possible?  Is that what I long for with my husband and in my sacred romance with the Lord Jesus Christ?  Can I fall in love new every morning?

How do I fall in love new every morning?  I think it must involve seeing, seeing as if for the first time my beloved, really seeing, deep down seeing  – who he is and how he touches my heart.   Each morning I need to intentionally look to my husband’s strengths, not his weakness. So each morning I need to intentionally focus on my Savior’s attributes, and not my disappointments.

Oh, Lord Jesus, turn my eyes to you and to my husband every morning.  Open my eyes to see, really see both of you. Each sunrise may I find myself falling in love anew with you and with my husband.

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A Prayer For The New Year


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As Christmas approached, I felt a need to once again visit the imaginary community of Mitford.  I had missed author Jan Karon’s  delightful characters and longed to spend time with them once again.  I  took Shepherds Abiding off my bookshelf and savored the re-read.

Toward the end of the book, the main character, Father Tim, prays.  His prayer touches my heart, and I cannot think of a better way to start the New Year than to pray it with you and over you.  I think this prayer must be from The Book of Common Prayer, but I am not certain.

“Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell.  Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life.  Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those, who in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

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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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Tender Memories

My heart is full of deep sadness as I realize I could lose my husband to cancer.  In the midst of this journey to healing or to death, there are unexpected beautiful moments and tender memories.  I am reminded of something Pearl Buck said as she wrote about her mother who wept during the symphony, “life is infinitely sad and unbearably beautiful.”

My husband was going to have a biopsy the next day, and then we were going home to await the pathology report.  I was sitting in the pharmacy at the Mayo Clinic, waiting to get some pain pills for him when my brain registered the beautiful music that was evoking such bittersweet emotions.  I suddenly realized the music was the theme song ( A Time For Us) from the 1968 movie, Romeo and Juliet. *  In a flash I was back in the summer of 1968.  I was a young woman waiting for the young man I had grown to love.  He came to the door and took me on a date to see the movie, Romeo and Juliet.   I think our first kiss was that night when he brought me home.

* You can hear this beautiful song on You Tube   A Time For Us   Andre Rieu –  Theme Song from Romeo and Juliet

 

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Reflections On Dying Today

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My husband has been waiting for the pathology report following the biopsy of the large tumor over his left kidney.   The radiologist who looked at the MRI films thought the tumor was lymphoma, rather than a kidney cancer.   People have told us that the diagnosis of lymphoma might be good news.  They have reminded us that lymphoma is more easily treated than it was years ago.  Someone told me their relative with stage 4 beat the disease and is cancer free.  My older sister beat stage 3 lymphoma when she was 73.   She said, “You tell Howard that I beat it, and he can too.  You tell him that he is going to get better. ”

Even as we brace ourselves and prepare for the battle with cancer,  Howard and I realize that death is one possible outcome of whatever the widespread process in his abdomen and pelvis is.  While we wait, we find we are at peace with that outcome.   I remember some thoughts from a book a fellow nurse gave me in 1971 when I had only been married one year.

The thoughts from Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather resonate in my heart again now when I have been married 43 years:

“She may die before morning.  But I have been with her for four years.  Four years. There is no way I could feel cheated if I didn’t have her for another day.  I didn’t deserve her for one minute.  God knows.

And I may die before morning.

What I must do is die now.  I must accept the justice of death and the injustice of life.  I have lived a good life – longer than many, better than most.  Tony died when he was twenty.  I have had thirty-two years.  I couldn’t ask for another day.  What did I do to deserve birth?   It was a gift.  I am me – that is a miracle.  I had no right to a single minute.  Some are given a single hour.   And yet I have had thirty-two years.

Few can choose when they will die.  I choose to accept death now.  As of this moment I give up my “right” to live.  And I give up my “right” to her life…”

43 years.   I didn’t deserve him for even a day,  and yet I have been given all the days of 43 years with him.   I can’t feel cheated, if I lose him.   I will die today to any “rights”  I think I have on his life.   I open my hands and give him back to The Creator who gifted him with life 68 years ago.

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Reflections On The Glory Of God

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“…Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth– everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”  Isaiah 43: 6-7

Beth Moore said in her Bible Study, Breaking Free (page 38), “I believe being created for God’s glory means two marvelous truths to those who are called by His Name: God wants to make Himself recognizable to us.  God wants to make Himself recognizable through us.”

Howard, my husband of 43 years, believed he was healthy until he suddenly developed flank pain.  In just one week he went from an illusion of well being to the reality of a large mass over his kidney and multiple masses throughout his abdomen and pelvis.  One of his initial statements was, “Have thine own way, Lord.”   He has kept quoting Ann Voskamp’s simple, yet profound statement of faith, “God is always good, and I am always loved.”

As we wait for the pathology report following his biopsy, and as we wait for the official diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan, we try to process this information and how radically our life changed in the course of one week.   We are surprised by supernatural peace which we know is a gift from God and the result of the prayers of God’s people on our behalf.   Howard is surprised that he has not asked,”Why?”   Although he knows the question why is normal, and would feel perfectly comfortable hurling it to heaven, there is no why in him to hurl.

Howard is a man of the the scriptures and a man of prayer.   I think he has so long steeped his soul in his God, that his questions have been absorbed into the purposes of his Creator and Redeemer.   He believes he was designed to glorify God – to reflect God’s glory, in health and in sickness, in life and in death.   We hope for a healing, but whether there is one or not, we both want to reflect the Glory of our Loving Heavenly Father during this season of heartache in our lives.

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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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Silly Conflict, Serious Conviction

I used to think I was a merciful person, that I treated other people the way I want to be treated, but I have come to realize these thoughts were merely delusions of goodness.

My husband went into the bathroom after I had brushed my teeth.  He called me into the room and in an annoyed tone showed me the splashes of water I had left on the wall by the sink. I replied, “So what?”

He sarcastically answered, “It leaves marks on the wall.”

“They wipe off with a damp rag.  It’s not a permanent mark; so wipe it all off, if it bugs you, ”  I angrily retorted.

I couldn’t let this go.  I had to escalate the situation.  It wasn’t fair.  The mercy I had been extending to him wasn’t being returned.  “I hate it when you use a kleenex once and leave it sitting on a surface to be used again.  It’s not sanitary, but rather than remind you, I throw it away and then wash my hands.”   I went on to give him several other examples of my long suffering as his wife, of all the grace I had been extending to him, the grace he was not returning.

A few days later, I became convicted that my behavior and attitudes were not fitting for a wife who follows Jesus.  Rather than giving mercy away because I would like to receive it, I was giving mercy to get mercy.  My motive was impure, self-seeking.  I remembered the words from I Corinthians 13 about love not keeping a record of wrongs.  I had been ignoring behaviors, but wasn’t being able to list them quickly in a heated moment, evidence that I had been keeping a record of wrongs, evidence I was not loving my husband?

Next time, with the Spirit’s help,  I hope I will say to my husband,  “I’m sorry.  I will wipe the water off the wall.”

Father, thank you for showing me my lack of mercy, my lack of love.  Forgive me.  Please make me like your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

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Without Love

I was yielding to my husband, after his firm reminder that we couldn’t afford to provide the meal for our small group.  We had agreed that I could contribute one dish each week.   I decided on a chicken salad because I had the needed supplies on hand.   Saturday evening I stood at the kitchen counter, running on empty, going through the motions, preparing a salad without love.  The truths of I Corinthians 13 came to mind.   The salad was a tiny sacrifice, nothing compared to giving my body to be burned.    Nevertheless, any sacrifice made without love profits me nothing.

The following morning as I sipped my cup of coffee and studied the beautiful morning sky, I found myself  praying Matthew West’s song, Motions.  “I don’t want to go through the motions without your all consuming passion inside of me.”

Lord,  my well is dry.  Fill me with your passion once again so that my service is driven by my love for you, by my gratitude to you.   May your love for the others in my life be poured out on them through me.   May my chicken salad nourish souls, as well as bodies.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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