Through Another’s Eyes

NOTE: Thank you to all the kind readers who shared your thoughts and welcome back with me. I love hearing from my readers. I am particularly grateful to those of you who noticed, and pointed out the typo I had on last week’s post. Thank you. It has been corrected. Please don’t hesitate to share your observations, ideas and comments with me!

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Watching the groom as the doors swing open and his bride walks down the aisle is my favorite part of a wedding. The strongest of men turn to mush and tenderness when they see the woman of their dreams.

As the years go by, and day to day busyness piles up, it is hard to recall that gleam in the eye of your one and only. When I do hear words of pride, love, and complement I sometimes become jaded, wondering if there’s a reason I am being buttered up.

That is why the perspective a woman shared with me at the conclusion of a writers conference this week meant so much to me.

“I watched him when you went forward. His eyes got big. He had a huge smile. I could see him saying WOW! I even saw tears forming in his eyes. He was so proud.”

A couple months prior to the conference I had decided against entering any of the contests. I felt as though I did not have time to submit anything worthy. . . except for one piece . . . an article I wrote about Jerry.

Jerry agreed with that submission but encouraged me to make the time to enter multiple categories. I did.

Saturday afternoon we walked around the conference grounds. I told him that I only wanted to win in one category – the article about him, entitled, “A Most Unrealistic Life.” Placing would affirm that others could see the man I know.

With the awards ceremony underway, I rejoiced with each winner. When the category of articles was announced, I did not hear my name for honorable mention, third place, or second place. When first place was announced it sounded like my name, it was! Thank you Jesus, was the silent prayer I uttered as I made my way forward to accept the awardmedal-303422_1280. I didn’t get to see Jerry’s face of pride until I returned to my seat. My evening had been made. I looked at him and said, “it’s because it’s about you!”

The evening became a whirlwind for me as I was surprised, and humbled to place in some additional categories. Jerry asked someone take photos of me. I wished someone would take a photo of Jerry for me. I know the old saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case the verbal picture this woman shared was a priceless gift.

We all need reminders from time to time that the relationship between us and our spouse is one like no other. As great as it is to hear the words from our partner, sometimes we need that outside observer to refresh our view.

arrow-1773931_1920How has someone outside of your marriage reminded you of the valuable gift your husband or wife is to you? How can you share words of encouragement about your spouse with others? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Roller Coaster is Real Part 2

This is the continuation of an earlier post.  If you need to catch up, click here.  eoller-coaster

It was only a few hours later (the same day) that I sat crying with Jerry over something I saw that caused the hurt to rise again in my heart and mind.  It’s part of the process we must go through when a loss is experienced, so I while I wasn’t alarmed by my response, it did turn cause my car to do a loop on the roller coaster.

Later that week a few other “challenges” popped up.  Though we hated the financial commitment we made the decision to continue our current health insurance via COBRA.  I went to a Doctor’s appointment that had been scheduled in the past.  They informed me that my COBRA insurance would not show up in the system for 2-3 months so I could private pay and seek a refund later.  I chose another option –  rescheduling.  While driving home I found my anger rising disproportionately to what the situation warranted.  That scared me a bit and I asked God why I was reacting so strongly.  His words in reply?  “Because you still think it is all about you.”  As I explored that thought more with God I realized that because I had felt wronged in another situation I assumed I should be free of being wronged again for a while. That one took me to a dip on the roller coaster.

The ride began to head up an incline again as friends come by to help us design and rearrange our house to make more effective office space for us.  A new friend sent a lengthy email to me that just made my heart sing with gratitude for her and her friendship.  Two other friends and I shared the longest text message conversation I’d ever had (4 hours) one evening.  Clearly have friends join me on the ride helped to hit a new high on this coaster.

Then I paid bills (need I saw more about which part of the roller coaster ride this was?).  We have savings.  Without regular income, we knew we’d have to draw on some of that savings.  Truly nothing unexpected happened, but still to see the numbers change in each account, and wonder when the next significant deposit would be made is scary.  I had to remind myself that God has ALWAYS provided for our needs, and He had again; we have enough money to pay this month’s bills, and likely several more months.  When/if the time comes that this is not the case God will continue to supply – I just don’t know how yet.  But then, I don’t need to know yet.

How do I get off the roller coaster?  Along with Philippians 4:8, I remind myself of 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NASB) “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raise up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

I hope by reading this small glimpse into a few days of my life you have a clearer picture that I am not a super woman.  But I do love and serve a supernatural awesome all powerful God who  also lets me call Him Daddy or Poppa.  I can worry, fret, stew and share that angst with you, or I can cling to Him and share that joy with you.  Which would you prefer?

 

 

The Roller Coaster is Real Part 1

One of the comments I sometimes hear is appreciation or amazement at how positive I/we have been through this ministry transition.  There are a couple of reasons that may seem to be the case.

Philippians 4:8 (NLT) in the New Testament tells me to “Fix [my] thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  I have lived life with my focus on the “poor me”, the “what ifs” and the “wonder how bad this will get”?  None of those thoughts fit the Phil. 4:8 matrix.

I could share with you some of the negative or challenging thoughts I’ve had the past six weeks, or the disappointment when a message didn’t come that I expected, or when one came that I didn’t want to get, or any other number of things that are part of my daily life.  But that won’t benefit me, and it won’t benefit you.

Secondly this blog was started to raise my Ebenezer.  If you are new to my writings, you may not be familiar with that term.  An Ebenezer is a memorial, a pile of stones set up to honor or memorialize something.  I want these writings to be signs of God’s working in my life.  I record them here so when I hit some down days, as I have recently, I can reread how God has met me in the past and it reminds me that He will continue to be faithful now, and until the day He calls me home.

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Photo Credit:  ByChanceTV

Let me give you an example of how this plays out in my life.  I took the month of December “off.”  I didn’t do much to pursue employment, I rested A LOT, spent time with family and friends, and spent the time as I desired.  As the month ended I geared up thinking that January 2nd was the first day of my new work.  While Jerry and I don’t know all of what our “new work” is yet (we are still talking with some other ministries and praying), we know that part of it at least involves more writing and speaking for each of us.

So, there I sat at my desk on the first work day of the new year of opportunity and began to clean my desk.  As I did that I would periodically check email, etc.  That “happened” to be a day that several new people began to follow me and I had more interactive traffic via both the blog and emails on my writing.  What an encouragement!  As if that were not enough I got a phone call from someone inviting me to be the speaker for their women’s retreat in April.  What particularly struck me is the date they were asking for was one I could not have accommodated if I were still in my former position.  I was enjoying the view from the top of the roller coaster that day; so very grateful for God’s timing and encouragement and blessing.

Check back on Friday for part 2 and the wrap up of this roller coaster ride.

If you’d like to chat about whether I might be the right speaker for your group you can click here. 

The Power of Words

Recently I wrote about rereading a journal from nearly 20 years ago.  I thought I’d share a couple more entries that gave me cause to ponder anew.

Even in 1987 I wrote that I sensed writing was something God wanted me to do more; at that point through the discipline of journaling.  I have always been one to journal in an “on again/off again” style. Perhaps this growing passion I feel to write is sprouting from seeds planted years ago.  Once again – His timing, not mine.

Now for a direct quote from that journal:

I was struck by the power of my words, when I am not even aware of them.  Tonight’s the second or third time S*** has commented on something I’ve said to her in a past conversation that she heard as an exhortation to her.  J*** has expressed that as well Funny thing is, when they mention it later, or tell me how God used those words, I have no recollection of ever having said what they are crediting to me or even the general context. . . If my words are used without my awareness to exhort or encourage another, how may times do they tear down without my knowledge?  I must be more aware to seek God and think before speaking (and today I would add, writing).

And that my friends is still true today.

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