Tag Archive | marriage

Perfectly Weak

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  2 Corinthians 12:9

[Travels, transitions, family times, grandparenting, border crossings, and more…my excuse for a big, bad case of blogger’s block.  But I can’t wait to share of God’s grace through all this…in between our routine days, like Titus 2sday!]

Last time we ‘met’ for Titus2sday, we were discussing sin, control and being out of control{!}  This sense of being out of control, whether in marriage, parenting, emotions, family matters, health, the work place, finances, or  ___ [fill in the blank], generally makes us feel pretty weak. Or perhaps, like me, perfectly weak!

But this awareness of our weakness brings us to a better place than perceived strength or control ever could—to pure reliance on Him.

These excerpts from Spurgeon (my fave) encourage us in our utter and perfect weakness:

Are you mourning over your own weakness?  Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you a victory.

Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust in; therefore, he is compelled to cast himself on God alone.

There is no moment of our lives, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding.

~~~

I am SO weak.  I come to the Lord with empty hands…therefore…

“…I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me!”
2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~

Dear Lord,  We are all so weak.  We rejoice in the day when our faith will be sight, and we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is! (I John 3:2) But until then, our weakness weighs us down, it interferes with our relationships and daily lives.  We need you, Lord, we need Your strength to be made perfect in our weakness..whatever that looks like.  Help us let go of the controls, and trust in the power of Christ that dwells in us.  In His Strong Name, Amen.

Sin in Control

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”      Psalm 51:4

I’m not a theologian, I don’t read Hebrew or Greek, and I’m not a subject-matter expert about much of anything. There.

But sometimes I’m burdened about something so much, that I’m compelled to step out of my comfort zone (as a warm-fuzzy encourager), and share my heart. It’s my sincerest prayer that through today’s post and future Titus2sdays, you may grow in the Lord, pleasing Him in every respect, and His name would be glorified.

Even though it’s quite clear that the desire of  human nature is to control and be in control, I think women struggle the most with this battle. I  know—I am one.

Genesis 3:16 reminds us why we’re so encumbered:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

When boundaries are set, we instantly to try to step over them, climb under them, or reason our way around them.  The apostle Paul discusses this inclination extensively in Romans 7.  Specifically, verse 7 says,

For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

So, just as the Word revealed Paul’s coveting as sin, we too face an uncomfortable fact:  Our desire for control is sin. We don’t want to be ‘ruled’ by anyone, God or man.  Perhaps because we don’t trust others to make the right decisions on our behalf.  Or, we don’t trust God.  And that equates to sin.

But desiring to control is more than not trusting God, it’s attempting to be God.  One of my favourite authors, Paul D. Tripp, discusses this dilemma:

  • The desire to be God rather than to serve God lies at the bottom of every sin that anyone has ever committed…. Sin is rooted in my desire to live for me. [1]
  • Self-sovereignty is the dream of every sinner. It’s hard for us to trust ourselves to the wisdom, power, and control of another. We want to write our own drama, and we want to be the central character of the story. But the spiritual reality of the universe is that we are not authors of our own story. Our story is a part of a larger story written by the Lord. In this story we are never on center stage. That is a position to be occupied by the Lord alone. [2]
  • You and I can change no one. Ultimately, personal change comes from only one source: the gracious act of a powerful God. When people try to change one another, typically the focus is on behaviour. Yet behaviour is not really the issue…the root problem is the heart. When we attempt to do God’s job and change someone’s heart, we only cause frustration to ourselves and pain to the other person. [3]

So try to control others according to our limited wisdom or for our benefit, we become self-serving, we hurt others, and, we’re sinning against God.

“Against You only, I have sinned.”

Thankfully, the Lord is gracious. He is compassionate, wise, understanding, and above all, forgiving. He is able to help us. We can and must depend entirely on Him, yielding our hearts and minds to His control.

What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!!  Romans 7:24

~~~~~~~

Let’s pray together about this during the week and ask ourselves:

Where do I need the grace of God to say no to the temptation to step over God’s boundaries and control?

How have I sinned against the Lord by trying to control others?

~~~~~~~

Dear Lord, Thank you for the victory we have through Christ! We are incapable of living out this Christian life apart from you.  Sometimes it’s so difficult, we feel like quitting. Please meet us first thing each morning and all day long, with your mercy and grace, to enable us to relinquish our behaviours, thoughts, and words to You. Your kingdom come, Your will be done…not ours. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen

~~~~~~~

[1]  Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

[2]  A Shelter in A Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble

[3]  Broken-Down House

~~~~~~~

Join us next Titus 2sday for more discussion on control, trust, and the help available through Jesus!

Eighty or Twenty?

Titus 2sday, brought to you today, by Elisabeth Elliot:

A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps eighty percent of her expectations.  There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much.  She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.  [1]

What are we focusing on today, the 80% or the 20%?

~~~

[1]. Elisabeth Elliot, Love Has a Price Tag (Ann Arbor, MI:  Servant Books, 1979), p. 97.

Short List

It’s Titus 2sday!

Lists.  We love them! We make lists for shopping (even if we leave them at home), lists of chores, resolution lists, etc.  They help us by providing structure and direction, especially on those busier-than-normal kind of days.

But lists can’t be too long, or we get discouraged.  It’s been said that that’s why God gave us only 10 commandments (and even those are tough!)

Perhaps, like me, you’ve read books with lists on how to a better wife, to love your husband, to be kind, and all the things you think you should be great at by now.  But, after all the reading, the lists seem too long.  Maybe you remember one thing, but even struggle with that!   You don’t need another book, seminar, or list.  So, today, I humbly offering my short list:

~~~

How to Love your Husband

1.  Forgive as you’ve been forgiven.

~~~ 

That’s it!  This isn’t meant to nullify all the books and sermons that address the convoluted layers of such a deep and intricate relationship as marriage. But if we don’t start here, if we don’t seek God’s grace for ourselves, and then, by His grace, turn that forgiveness towards our husbands, then all the lists in the world won’t get us anywhere.

Review the story Jesus told his disciples, and ask Him to speak to your own heart:

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

Dear Father, Thank you for forgiving me! You rescued me when I didn’t even know I needed rescuing.  Through the Cross, you drew me with chords of love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.  So how dare I hold back my love, forgiveness, mercy and grace from anyone else, especially my husband? Help me, Lord, to be forgiving.  Help me to be an instrument of grace in my home, to accept your forgiveness for my own sins, then forgive others, starting with my husband.  I can’t do it alone, but your Word says that You are at work in me, both to will and to do of Your good pleasure.  I need you to make me willing and able to forgive.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~~~

Please join us every Tuesday as we learn together how to grow, love and serve the Lord by loving and serving our families.

 

It’s Our Anniversary!

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…”  Song of Songs 6:3

1 May, 1976

  

A lovely birthday, Sept 2009

At our daughter, Grace's wedding, 2008

Visiting Quebec City, 2005

Today is our 34th wedding anniversary!  We celebrate it with thankfulness and great humility, knowing that the Lord is the source of our relationship, as well as the sustainer! 

This is a little verse we’re holding onto for this year…and, Lord willing, many to come:

“…to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”  I Peter 4:2

 

 

Summer Revisited

September, autumn, cooler temps, falling leaves, pumpkin spice latte…my favourite season of the year.

Before getting too far into a new season, however, I wish to thank the Lord for a blessed summer mixed filled with love, care, fun,  joy and tears, babies and much more. Since a picture paints a thousand words, these should say it all:: 

Summer-y Iris

Summer-y Iris

Hello Dahlias

Hello Dahlias

Frequent Visitor

Frequent Visitor

Colourful Crowd!

Colourful Crowd!

Our neice, Jess, and Drew's Wedding!

Our neice, Jess, and Drew's Wedding!

Becky aglow at Jess' wedding

Becky aglow at Jess' wedding

 

Best gifts come in little packages!

Best gifts come in little packages!

Our happy daughter and new mommy!!

Our happy daughter and new mommy!!

Granpa John and baby Jonathan

Granpa John and baby Jonathan

Auntie Grace

Auntie Grace

Grace, Hope, Joy, and baby Jon

Grace, Hope, baby Jon, Joy, and baby girl-to-be

Peace

Peace

 

Walks on the beach

Walks on the beach

Sunset Sail, a gift from Joy and Steve

Sunset Sail, a gift from Joy and Steve

Joyful Joyfull!

Joyful Joyfull!

 

Relaxin'

Relaxin'

A sunny day with Grace and Dan

A sunny day with Grace and Dan

Ottawa in Bloom

Ottawa in Bloom

Some local entertainment

Some local entertainment

Accidental front row seats at the Gay Parade

Accidental front row seats at the Gay Parade

I love sidewalk cafes!

I love sidewalk cafes!

Byward market berries

Byward market berries

Red, white, and blue in Canada

and more berries!!

The beautiful wedding setting

Beautiful setting for Kim's Wedding

Kim and David, with Paul Racine officiating

Kim and David, with Paul Racine officiating

The Colourful Wedding Party

The Colourful Wedding Party

Congratulations Kim and David!

Congratulations Kim and David!

Dancing time with John

Dancing time with John

 

Thank you Lord for time with friends, Mike and Elaine!

Thank you Lord for time with friends, Mike and Elaine!

 

Canoeing with Friends

Canoeing at Lac Phillippe

Is that what a paddle is for, Elaine?

Is that what a paddle is for, Elaine?

 

Showers of blessings!

Showers of blessings!

Familes unite! Blessed to meet Steve's mom (L) and aunt!

Showers unite families! We met Steve's mom (L) and aunt!

So much to look forward to!!

Joy and Steve have so much fun to look forward to!

Pampering Baby Time

Pampering Baby Time

Lovin' bathtime!!

Lovin' bathtime!!

"See you later" time with Jonathan. Next visit, a month away.

"See you later" time with Jonathan. Next visit, a month away.

Exhausted from too much fun!

Exhausted from too much fun!

And these are only a fraction of John’s photos!

 

Thank you, Lord, for Your protection, care, blessings, and answered prayers woven throughout this summer season.  We long to trust You in all our seasons to come, the prayers You know we’ll pray, the needs You know we’ll have.  Your love knows no bounds.  From everlasting to everlasting, we can trust in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.” 

Grace in Marriage-2

As promised, I want to continue some discussion from last week’s post, Grace in Marriage.  I re-listened to Dr. Dobson and Gary Smalley’s interview on Focus on the Family (Feb 2nd) and jotted down some key points, listed below.   Following that are some familiar, but ever-helpful Scriptures to guide our interactions  in marriage, and with others.

1.  Marriage is like the unity candle–no longer I, but WE.

2.  Anger is a disease that destroys intimacy in marriage, and thus marriage itself.

3.  Four ‘viruses’ promote anger, and destroy communication:
      Withdrawing from one another
      Escalation (volume of discussion and heartbeats rise)
      Belittling your spouse (in words, actions, body language)
      Seeing more negative than is actually there.  In counseling, this is called the “confirmation vice.”  The more negative you see, the more you think you see.

4.  To counter these ‘viruses’, couples need to do the following:
       a.  Honour your mate
           
List on paper the things valuable about your spouse and look at it daily
            Tell your spouse about what you value in him/her
      b.  LUV Talk
            Listen
            Understand
            Validate
Many arguments could be avoided when we listen to our spouse, and try to understand their issues/concerns. The validation is a form of “repeating back” what is heard, to let them know we were listening.
      c.  Seek to understand your spouse’s deepest need or fear.   Arguments take on many variations, but they usually come back to one common denominator–a need that each person is afraid won’t be met.

5.  Take at least 20 minutes a day to attend to each other–listen, understand, validate, and honour one another.

6.  Other resources discussed in the interview included marriage and relationship books by Dr. Scott Stanley, Dr. John Gottman, and a new one by Dr. Smalley, I Promise.

 

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and the stores are full of cards, candy, and chocolates to remind us.  But let’s go beyond card and flower giving (though those are always welcome!)  Let’s honour our spouse with our attention and value them with our words.  In so doing, we love and honour the Lord, for He gave us as gifts to each other.

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” I Cor. 13:4-8

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 2:31-32

“…put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:12-14

“..let each one among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”  I Peter 3:8-9

Grace in Marriage

candle_flame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two become One

The unity candle in a marriage ceremony signifies two families, two individuals joining as one — for a lifetime.  The importance of this union is often overlooked during the ceremony, but the reality remains beyond the wedding and honeymoon.  No longer I, but we. 

On Monday’s (Feb 2nd) Focus on the Family radio broadcast, Dr. Gary Smalley discussed with extreme clarity and practicality how to carry this beautiful and challenging reality into the everyday–and the long haul.  He presented the need for grace (and honour) in marriage above all, which ultimately leads to increased unity between two very different people.  The principles can be applied to other relationships as well, but seems we often ‘get’ or ‘do’  those better than our own marriages.

Grace needs to be applied daily to our marriage.  In The Grace Awakening, Chuck Swindoll calls grace “the oil that lessens the friction in marriage.”   This demonstration of grace should be mutual, extended by both parties to both parties, resulting in “mutual equality, mutual dignity, mutual humility, and mutual destiny.”  While this may have been understood in days gone by, it seems more and more view marriage today as a matter of convenience and/or mood.  When the benefits of the convenience or the mood wear out, so goes the marriage. 

Grace brings lasting benefits into marriage, and the list below by Chuck Swindoll, is certainly not all-inclusive:

Grace loves and serves
            gives and forgives,
            keeps no record of wrong,
            releases and affirms,
            supports and encourages,
            values the diginity of the other.

The Focus on the Family radio broadcast mentioned above presents very practical ways to show this kind of grace to one another.  I’ve  posted a summary at “Grace in Marriage-2“, but I still encourage all to listen, HERE for some well-rounded advise that all can use (even those of us married over 30 years!)

http://listen.family.org/daily/A000001763.cfm

Congratulations Grace and Dan!!

Let marriage be held in honor among all!  Heb. 13:4

Today our youngest daughter, Grace, is getting married!  So if we haven’t responded to comments or updated this site enough, I hope you’ll understand!  Thank you Lord for bringing such wonderful men into our daughters’ lives!  We are blessed!!

Enter His gates with thanksgiving,

And into His courts with praise.

Give thanks to HIm; bless His name.

For the Lord is good;

His lovingkindness is everlasting

And His faithfulness to all generations!

Psalm 100:4,5