Tag Archives: Love

Husband of My Youth

Candy blogs: Sunday is a milestone for my husband and me. We will celebrate 35 years of marriage. Neither of us can believe it. How could it possibly be? Just yesterday that drummer from high school jazz choir with the big ‘fro and the rust colored cords and jean jacket was kissing me good night at the door for the first time.

He was different from the other guys in high school. He was kind. He didn’t have a dirty mouth. He was a gentleman. And so talented! I knew anyone I was going to marry had to be a musician. Scott was that. He played the drums and sang like a angel.

Scott & Candy

When we decided to marry, our pastor told us that our commitment to the relationship was more important than our commitment to the other person. He told us this is what real love was … to choose love more than feel love because feelings come and go and can’t be trusted.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”   Jeremiah 17:9

It was this counsel above any advice we were given that has carried us through these last 35 years. When we let our feelings dictate our actions, it can lead to poor choices. When our own happiness is the goal instead of what is best for the relationship, that’s where marriages go wrong. Marriage can’t be based on happiness. When he works too much or doesn’t catch the importance of something I’m involved in, I am unhappy. Does this mean I no longer love him? Of course not. Happiness comes and goes with circumstances, like feelings do. We can’t always control circumstances.

And it’s never just about us. Life decisions we make affect those around us … those we love. Our decisions send ripples out into the future.  When you’re married, life become “we”. We becomes more important than me.

If I am choosing love, not always demanding my own way, doing what is best for my spouse because I love him and not just because it will make me happy, I WILL be happy. And I’ll be loved. And 35 years later, it’s more true than ever.

Scott ~

On our wedding day,
I called you “husband” for the first time,
and since then I’ve discovered that word means
much more than I first imagined.

It means “friend” because you are the best one I have.
It means “partner” because we share life’s journey together.
It means “blessing” because you are one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me.

The more years go by,
the more it means to call you “husband”
because the longer we are together,
the more I discover all you are to me.

choosing love,

Candy

Whining and Dining

Candy blogs: Tough three weeks … I am ready for some rest and peace. How about you?

My Whine List
~ 2nd week of November was the busiest week on record for me. I seriously overbooked myself.
~ Parents surprise visit from South Dakota
~ My dear father-in-law took a serious turn for the worse in Arizona and Scott flew down for ten days, which included being apart Thanksgiving and on our 34th wedding anniversary.
~ Took on a new bookkeeping client
~ Sister and family surprise visit from Washington State … and brought DOG
You may not know that I am not a dog lover. I don’t hate dogs but I don’t like them either. And we have a cat only because my husband is a cat worshipper. Now even though Sadie, the dog, only stayed one short night at our house before she was taken to her safe haven at my aunt’s house, in that short time she drank all the cat’s water and practically emptied the toilet of water, threw up in the living room and left an odoriferous gift in my bedroom … right beside my side of the bed.
~ Thanksgiving at my house suddenly became huge. Grandma always breezed through big holiday gatherings.

My “victory” was that I didn’t blow up at anyone during Thanksgiving week. (I had blown up the previous week but that’s another post) But this soon became a hollow victory. I had just commented on Facebook about how “not divorcing” is not enough. How it isn’t necessarily noble just to stay married if you haven’t enjoyed the journey together and accomplished the purposes God intended the two of you to fulfill.

Suddenly I saw the parallel between the two things … just like not divorcing wasn’t enough, not blowing up wasn’t enough.

Just gritting my teeth and willing my mouth to stay closed wasn’t a fragrant offering that pleased the Lord. No words may have come out but they were there on the inside. My attitude was in selfish, poor me mode.

What a contrast to this verse …
love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. I Corinthians 13:5

I had done it all in the last two weeks. I had been rude, self-seeking, easily angered and I have kept record of wrongs.

What in the world?! It was time to step back and get some perspective.

Yes … there were several big stresses piling up at the same time. I acknowlege that. No one was expecting perfection of me. But what had I missed by allowing my attitude to get the better of me? Where was my eucharisteo living?

I had let the urgent and mundane become more important than people and the opportunity to express love and thankfulness.

I had so many things to be thankful for …
~ At the insistence of my family, on my anniversary, we all went to Krispy Creme for breakfast and had Mongolian food for lunch. The Lord KNOWS how I love donuts and Mongolian food. And to have them both in the same day was just too much to overlook.
~ I “had coffee” one morning at the kitchen table with my nieces and nephew before their parents woke up and found out some wonderful things about who they are. Well, I had coffee and they had peppermint hot chocolate.
~ My dad and brothers-in-law stepped in for Scott every time I needed a man to do something.
~ Many hands made light work.
~ We saw Happy Feet 2!
~ I helped my parents with some of their technology problems and also helped them “shop local” on Black Friday.
~ I was not alone; I was surrounded by a loving family.

And, yes, there are also true issues that I am now processing. My strong reactions were indeed a symptom of a deeper need. But this stressful time was not a spiritual attack. I wasn’t doing spiritual battle this time. It was a stacking up of circumstances that I let overwhelm me.

by Blessings Unlimited

Saw this on Facebook … It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.

I’m letting all this sit for a while. What say you? How was your Thanksgiving?

When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best

Candy blogs: I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a sentimental greeting card. I don’t really care for the funny kind. I like the sappy kind, the kind that makes me “leak” or “rain” as my step father-in-law would say. Lately I’ve been going through some “piles” around the house. These piles have been waiting for me a long time. I used to say there would be no piles if I didn’t have to work full time. I found out that isn’t true. Anyway, I digress.

I find that I’m having trouble tossing these beautiful greeting cards. Cards have become a tradition in our little nuclear family. We always put our Christmas cards on the Christmas tree, and we look forward to opening them even more than gifts. My grown kids choose their cards carefully for me; I appreciate that. There is no such thing as too much affirmation for my mother’s heart. My husband painstakingly chooses his cards for me, too. They are always zingers. Everyone waits for me to tear up when I read their card. *chuckling to myself*

Here is a favorite from my husband from Christmas 2009:

Sometimes it seems I can get all wrapped up
in the day to day details of life.
Where to be and when? What to do and how?
It can all start to seem so important.
But then all of a sudden, it will hit me–
you smile at me, and I tingle,
you touch my cheek,
and I melt.
And like magic, I am reminded
of all that ever really matters in life –
having your love and you.

When I was 15 I dreamed of having a man say such things to me. I am living that dream. I would call that a gift, a blessing.

'09 Christmas Cards


Here is the card I gave to Scott that same year:

You’re such a great husband.
We’ve been married a long time.
Now we speak more of home repair than romance,
candlelight means there’s a power failure,
and a great night in bed usually means
we managed to get some sleep.
But in the midst of the humdrum,
I catch a look at your eyes
and see the eyes of the one I fell in love with.
Life isn’t always fun and exciting …
but you are.

After reading our cards, our eyes lock. All the years … all the moments … all our life is reflected in our eyes. No words are needed. The cards provided an opportunity to reflect on and communicate what’s always in our hearts.

I guess I’ll toss these two greeting cards now. I am reminded of what makes my husband feel loved. I will again be sure there is a hot supper and a cold drink waiting for him when he gets home from work today.

In the midst of our busyness, a greeting card can be a simple and inexpensive gift of making time stand still, even for a moment. Is there something to celebrate? Is there misunderstanding or tension or sorrow? Has a goal been reached? Or maybe you’re just feeling warm and fuzzy. A greeting card can be the grand total of what you want to communicate or it can be the starting point of a needed conversation that is too awkward to start on your own.

Tossing and remembering and …

The Fruit of the Spirit is … Love

The Fruit of the Spirit is ... love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8

Our English language falls short in truly defining love. As I look at each phrase of the Scripture verses above, I am reminded of how impossible it is to truly love as God loves. Am I a self-seeking princess demanding my own way? Am I easily angered when I don’t get it? Do I keep a mental list of people who have hurt me? Do I protect the character of others by not gossiping about them, or think the best of others before forming opinions or making judgments? Do I keep on responding lovingingly even when it may not be reciprocated?

When I really ponder the way God loves me, I only see how far short I fall in loving others.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Romans 8:5-9

God’s word, the Bible, says that when we live outside of the Spirit’s control we are actually hostile to God and cannot please Him. But when we allow His Spirit to be active and move freely in our lives, we will be empowered to live and love as God does.

How can I know that this quality of the Fruit of the Spirit is being developed in me? When I begin to respond to others the way I see God loving me.

Love never fails.

Interview: Christy Bower, author of Best Friends with God

I am honored to present an interview and book review with Christy Bower, author of Best Friends with God: Falling in Love with the God who Loves You. I first met Christy by accidentally running across her blog when I was learning what blogs were and searching out blogs to follow. We had many of the same tags. And we have become e-friends! When her book was finished and published, I wanted to help get the word out.

by Christy Bower

GIVEAWAY!
I do have a copy of this book to give away! Your name will be entered as comments are made on this post. You’ll love this read. Through her struggles and questioning, Christy has great insight about the love of God. I am halfway through the book at this writing. It has made me stop and think more deeply about how I perceive God’s love toward me. I have especialy enjoyed the way she re-tells the stories of the Bible characters she writes about.

You say that after salvation, the first step on the journey to becoming best friends with God is to believe that He loves us. Isn’t that what every Christian believes anyway? What are we missing?

We tend to think of God loving “the world” as in John 3:16. We are part of that collective “world” so we know that He loves us. Christ died for us, but He died for everyone else too. God’s love can seem distant and impersonal. We know that somewhere “out there” God loves us, but here and now we struggle to feel God’s love for us as an individual.

Sometimes we need a little help to learn to identify the ways that God demonstrates His love toward us. As we begin to notice His gestures of love toward us, we know that He loves us, not as part of the collective “world” but as an individual. When this happens, we are well on our way to becoming best friends with God.

In your chapter on Job, you talk about a time when you were very sick for six months. Tell us about that and what you learned about God’s love from that experience.

I was mostly bed-ridden for six months. My temperature would flare up to 102-104 degrees for several days at a time. Antibiotics and steroids had no effect. All my blood tests came back normal, except that the level of infection in my blood was too high. My vital organs were fine, so the infection was hiding elsewhere. With no medial answers in sight, it occurred to me that I may have to live like this for the rest of my life. I wondered how I would define my value and purpose if I could no longer work and others had to care for me.

I came to realize that even if I was confined to bed for the rest of my life, I could still fulfill the Greatest Commandment by loving God from my bed. Loving God is the Greatest Commandment because that is all God expects of us. Loving God is also the simplest commandment because if we can do nothing else, we can love the Lord. Even confined to bed, not contributing to society, I have worth to God.

As for my illness, it turned out to be a severe sinus infection caused by rare bacteria that don’t respond to typical antibiotics. During the six months of my illness, I learned to spend my time letting God love me and loving God—from my bed. And it forever changed my understanding of what God really expects of us.

If the Greatest Commandment is to love the Lord, how do we get our emotions to obey a command?

No matter how much we try to make ourselves feel love, we simply can’t generate feelings of love on our own, can we? Love is not a self-attained virtue.

Fortunately, God does not command us to generate feelings of love on our own because love comes from God (1 John 4:7) and “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5). So God commands us to do something—love—that we cannot do on our own, but only He can do through us. Sounds surprising, doesn’t it? But God also desires our salvation, which is not something we can do on our own; only God can save us. Our dependence on Him is essential to having a relationship with Him. And through our relationship with Him, we are transformed by love.

Speaking of dependence on God, you talked about how important it is for us to bring our needs to God. Why do you say that we create a “two-way blessing” when we admit our needs to God?

It’s easy for us to become so independent that we live our lives as if we don’t need God, but we can’t feel God’s love for us if we won’t let Him close enough to demonstrate His love for us. When we bring our needs to God in prayer it allows God to demonstrate His love for us by giving us what we need, but God also feels loved by us because we trusted Him and came to Him for help. That’s a two-way blessing.

We try to make God’s love complex, but it’s really quite simple. We experience God’s love for us by letting Him meet our needs, and we demonstrate our love for God by letting Him meet our needs. How simple is that?

Most Christians would say that they demonstrate their love for God through obedience and service. Yet you encourage Christians to take a “spiritual sabbatical” from Christian service. Explain what you mean by that.

It’s easy to get carried away, adding one thing and then another until we are overloaded. But Jesus said, “No longer do I call you slaves . . . but I have called you friends” (John 15:15). God doesn’t want our service; He wants our friendship. God does not pile on one duty after another. There is nothing that you do for God that is more important than your relationship with God.

If your relationship with God ever begins to suffer, I believe it is healthy to take a leave of absence from your Christian service or ministry in order to focus on your relationship with God without other distractions. I refer to this as taking a spiritual sabbatical. If doing Christian things has become more important or more demanding than your relationship with God, then it’s time to take a spiritual sabbatical—for as long as it takes to restore a healthy relationship with God.

Tell us about the character-based format of the book. And then wrap things up by explaining what you would like readers to get out of this book?

Best Friends with God is a follow-up to my previous book, Devotion Explosion, and it follows the same format. Each chapter focuses on a different person in the Bible and begins with a narrative that portrays the biblical character, followed by a discussion of what we can learn from that person about becoming best friends with God. The study questions at the end of each chapter can be used for individual or group study.

I pray that readers would know that God loves them as an individual and not merely as part of “the world.” I would like them to begin to experience an interactive relationship with God by accepting God’s gestures of love toward them and experiencing a heartfelt response of love toward God. I hope that readers will grow to feel like they are best friends with God.

Christy Bower is the author of three books and numerous articles. Her previous book, Devotion Explosion, is now in its third printing. For more information about Christy, visit her website at www.christybower.com or read her blog at http://christybower.wordpress.com.

We welcome your comments and posts! They are always a blessing. Thanks for stopping by!

I would appreciate your prayers, as I have begun writing the next set of talks for an upcoming women’s retreat.

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