Especially to MEN: Marriage after 20+ years

I feel loved! Fully, completely, extravagantly.

What does a wife need to feel completely loved?

Not only do I feel loved by God, which is the most fundamental love, without which we cannot feel whole. But I also feel my whole person is loved by another person – which gives me a sense of warmth and safety I have rarely experienced.

I have composed this post out of a sense of delight. But also, I share it with the public and target men in particular, because I think that many husbands and wives find it difficult to connect on an emotional level. I write this message hoping it will enable a deeper understanding of what a wife needs from her husband if she is to feel completely loved.

After over 20 years of marriage, I feel I am not alone in the deepest part of myself. I feel understood, accepted, embraced,  respected by my husband. After 21 years of marriage, I feel like we are finally ‘one flesh’. In both the physical sense and the spiritual, this ‘one flesh’ was established years ago. But today my husband and I are connected, more-so than ever before, on a deep emotional level too.

It has taken a long time, and has been a river filled with challenge, perseverance, misunderstanding and endless effort for both of us.

Today, all our efforts have culminated in a deep connectedness. The result for me is that I feel like I can cope with anything, and with a joyful assurance that I don’t have to cope on my own. Oh, I am still my own person, alone with my hopes and dreams, and the mundane responsibilities of life. But I am experiencing something new. My emotions and thoughts are completely appreciated, and that is heart-warming.

Life is a journey. The Christian life is a challenge. The married life is like riding in a boat over immense and varied seas.

For the first time in my marriage, I really feel as though we’re in the same boat, my husband and I… It is a small yacht that navigates the strong gales and drifts in the stillness, even as the tide and wind affect the movement of the waves.

This is because I am ‘seen’ now. He sees me, I do not hide, and I am not ashamed. Perhaps this is my new definition of marriage: to be seen by another and not to be ashamed of anything.

As man and wife, isn’t it total intimacy – without fear or shame – that we long for in our union, each of us transparent and vulnerable to the other, totally understood and accepted. Today, I believe I have experienced this intimacy. It is God’s perfect marriage plan.

Likewise, we who are the Bride of Christ are meant to experience this intimacy and freedom with God. As sons of Adam, that is who we would have been had he not sinned and learned shame.

So, to those who are married: well done. May we keep striving for the best that’s meant to be, because marriage is worth navigating even through the rough seas.

And also a note to the singles, be you single still or once again: may you be encouraged. God knows the best way for us to discover Him.

All of life requires effort, and the reward of intimacy is not easily achieved. Love is found in Father God. For some, it is also experienced through life with a spouse. But God’s plan for our lives is to draw us close to Him, as His bride. He knows the perfect navigation for each of his children to reach this intimacy. We can all find rest and His perfect peace that passes all understanding, knowing He leads us where we need to deepen our discovery of Him.

His love will never let us go.

What a lovely way to start the New Year.

Best to all for 2015.

Living Free from Worry – LarusWalk at Larus Press

How can we avoid worrying? Isn’t it just a part of life? No, actually, with Christ it doesn’t have to be.

Ready:

In Christ, your identity is sure and your purpose is secure. Your living spirit has overcome worry. Whether you have a long ‘to do’ list, major surgery or a pile of unpaid bills, you can ignore those things concerning you and get on with life. Believe-it-or-not, Jesus didn’t worry. And so we don’t have to either.

Set:

Perhaps one of the most famous passages of Jesus’ teaching is his word about worry, from the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:25-34 reads: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?…” (NKJV)2 Swan on a Cold Day

We who believe in the Father and the Son can trust the Holy Spirit’s power to enable us to overcome the habit of worry. It robs us of the joy and freedom that Jesus died to give us. Here are four steps to accomplish this:

1. Decide to dwell on life-fulfilling thoughts. As Paul wrote in Philippians 4, ‘Whatever things are true, whatever things noble….. just….. pure….. lovely….. meditate on these things.’

2. Praise God, listing some of the things you are thankful for and some of the promises He’s made.

3. Read a passage from the Bible. Read it again. It’s amazing how our spirit will rise up when we feed it the Word of God.

4. Allow fear and control to slip away from you. At the root of fear is the desire to control… to protect ourselves. But when we have the Creator of the Universe watching over us, what more protection do we need?

A little self-discipline and a lot of the Holy Spirit enables us to overcome.

Go:

poss for website 2When we recognize our worries, we can give them up. Trading them in for God’s promises is definitely an upgrade!

For similar insights go to: http://www.LarusPress.com. Subscribe to the free weekly newsletter Soaring Post.

In the Tunnel – Part 2

From Present to Past:

I’d like to begin this in-depth look at Brokenness by saying I’m feeling elated, after coming through a soul-wrenching time. God works like that, doesn’t He? He brings us through trials in order to prune, shape, enrich us – And He sets us free from situations we create or think we must bear. Saying that, I choose to reflect on the past lessons of my recent Tunnel Experience to share them so that others whom God may lead through the Tunnel will be better prepared.. I like also to exchange experiences and lessons with others. For each of us, the learning curve never ends. That’s part of the excitement and challenge of our Christian journey…. But for now, I’ll talk about the Tunnel.

How I Entered the Tunnel: The issue of Time Management…

Or rather time unmanageable.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your “to do” list? Well, I had an Ah Ha moment about my “to do” list that initiated my Tunnel experience.

I entered a spiritual Tunnel last autumn, when I realized I could NEVER keep up with the amount of work I believed I had to do. I’d started a publishing business, based on God’s leading; my hubby asked me to work on a healthy vending business . I’m a wife and mother and follower of Jesus, all of which take commitment and time. I’d developed the tendency to stay up late, or wake up early (or sometimes both) in order to try to keep up with everything. Then, in one moment, I suddenly admitted: I have no time for myself, no time to relax, no quality time at all, to live, breathe, move.

At the time, I was physically healthy (ah, typically feeling a bit overweight, and as well, a little bit tired), but I crashed – in my mind and heart – realizing I just had more that I wanted to do than I could possibly do. That ‘crash’ was a blessing in that it would eventually release me into a different perspective, but of course initially, I didn’t feel released or relief. Initially, I felt despair and disappointment. Though my “Ah Ha” moment would eventually free me to give myself permission to stop trying so hard to do everything on my “to do” list, at first I felt the pain of lost hope, a lost dream, and I had to wrestle briefly with a bit of bitterness too.

Have you ever felt God lead you to something, or ask you to do something, and then you felt you couldn’t do it and He’d left you to flail about on your own?  I felt a bit like that at the crisis moment, when I first realized I could not do all I thought I had to do. Then, I admitted He hadn’t really mandated everything I was trying to do, and that there was quite a bit of My Will mixed onto the “to do” list. Though I felt disappointed and alone, I confessed to myself that God had not abandoned me and that somehow I’d burdened myself.

Honesty with ourselves and with God is so important in our journey, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s hard to face our mistakes, but thankfully, we serve a God who is kind, compassionate and full of love. He actually brings us to moments of realization so that he can free us from unnecessary burdens. Jesus’ words ring in my mind often,

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30 NKJV from Bible Gateway)

I admitted that, in order to have a good quality of life with my family, I’d have to let go of a part of my work that I loved. At first I felt a deep sense of loss and sadness. But that gave way to relief over only a few days. I had told myself it was God’s work but really it wasn’t. Being honest with myself, rather than being resentful toward God, proved to be a good choice.

Have you been through God’s refining fire? Perhaps you’re still there. Or maybe you made a huge discovery through it that has transformed your thinking and deepened your relationship with Him. Will you consider sharing so that others can be encouraged too?

Fire is hot – and burns can hurt. But fire also offers a means for warmth, food and protection. How has God’s refining fire affected you or a loved one, demonstrating His grace, release and love?

Fire offers Intimacy

Fire offers Intimacy

Taming the Soul

Taming the Bushes in the Garden is a lot like Taming the Soul:

I am a rather emotional person. Strong emotions ooze out of me, whether I intend them to or not. When I get angry, I cry; when I have hurt feelings, I explode; when I’m frustrated I shout… that sort of thing. One particular cause for explosion is if I physically hurt myself – for example if I bang my head, I shout and cry. I try to have more self-control, and I pray for an increase in self-control, but it is an uphill battle.

On the positive side, I express delight and excitement rather ‘effervescently’ too, so at least I’m consistent when it comes to self-expression.

For those living In the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is upon us. For some that will mean there’s a lot of work in the garden that needs to be undertaken. Some find it a pleasant experience. I’ve learned that, although I’m not a keen gardener, the experience of gardening is really good for me. Less than a decade ago we bought our first place with a big garden. The house had been empty for some time so the overgrowth was extreme, at least to my inexperienced person. But when I pulled, clipped, and pulled some more, I imagined how Adam and Eve felt taming the earth. I know that Eden must have been perfect without their weeding, but after The Fall, they had to clear by the sweat of the brow, so gardening must have changed considerably. As I gardened, I think what I found unexpectedly invigorating was the satisfaction I felt, not only from looking at the result of my efforts but also from the experience itself. I felt like I was purging myself of pent-up frustration, anger and any other passionate irrational feeling that wanted to take charge of my mind.

I learned that taming a garden is a lot like taming my mind… when I’m really frustrated and a plant won’t cooperate, I can pause, breath and pray… Then, calmer to deal with the situation, I can develop a strategy. To clip a vine or bush is easier than to pull it at the root. Likewise with my emotions. Clipping reduces the problem until I’m ready to deal with the root.

The root of an emotion is a thought – and dealing with our thoughts is a whole other matter which won’t be addressed in a few lines. But at least when  tension is eased through a  bit of emotional pruning, I am not overrun with the full force of feeling. I can think more clearly without emotion fluttering around, and I have a better chance at uprooting the pesky thought that robs me of peace.