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.

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The King’s Woman

A tremendous spark in End Times information.

While We Slept

Dear blog readers,
It has been a long time since I wrote on this site. You may have wondered what is going on. Well, I have been writing a book called, “The King’s Woman — Beautiful and Dangerous.” This is about the Bride of Christ who needs to get herself ready soon to celebrate the wedding feast with her King Jesus. Eve, the first woman chose her own desire above her Creator’s order and fell from her position. The people of Israel, to whom God declared through the prophet Isaiah, “For your Maker is your husband — the Lord Almighty is his name (Isa 54:5), also fell short of the marriage covenant with God, and ran after other men like Assyria, Egypt, and Babylon for her protection and provision. Later, through the prophet Jeremiah, God in agony called out for her. “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am…

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Endings: Accepting Transitions and Change

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (C Dickens A Tale of Two Cities)

Psalms“For everything there is a season, And time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Everything has its time: there are times in life when things are new, and there are times when some things must end.

I’ve just moved to Spain and have been writing about “New Beginnings” on my blog: http://sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com

But with new beginnings there are, inevitably, endings too.

How do you come to terms with the discovery that the way you’ve thought or interacted for years needs to change? When your dearest friends are far away, and you’ve few new folks in whom to confide, how do you pray, live, love through that?

The seed is faith. No matter what you may think or feel, it is the Spirit and our spirit, working in harmony, that is the reality. When everything seems in flux, faith is our bedrock.

Recently, I felt pretty low. I didn’t even feel like praying! But faithfully, I took out a Psalm each day for a week and read through it, allowing myself to reflect a bit at a time on what the psalmist was saying.

“In You, O LORD, I put my trust…” (Psalm 7, 11, 31, 71 – verse 1) empty chair

And do you know: even when you can’t see in front or behind, when everything is new and nothing familiar, when excitement wanes and you want someone close to say, ‘Here I am, for you’ and no one is there, do you know you don’t have to drum up positive feelings? Nor do you have to wallow in misery. Simply, allow yourself to be right where you are – physically, emotionally and spiritually – and wait. You might want to make only a few decisions – none other than what to wear or what to make for dinner – and wait. Tell the LORD what’s on your heart and mind- and wait. Ask Him for your deepest need, even if you don’t believe He’ll fulfill it – and wait.

God hears. God restores. God fulfills.

pic onlyI’m in a different place than I was a week ago. God answered my prayer, it’s true. But it isn’t in the answering of the prayer that help comes – but so much more in the waiting.

God bless you. Have a merry Christmas month and see you in 2015!

In the meantime, I welcome comments, thoughts, sharing.

 

 

Parenting an Intelligent but Willful Child

Do you always feel confident as a parent? Or, have you ever had the feeling that your child is smarter than you are? Do you find yourself arguing with him and he is running mental circles around you?

Have you asked yourself the question: How do I parent my intelligent but willful child?

Well, there is no need for fear, shame or self-doubt. Your child, no matter how bright he may be, or thinks she is, has less wisdom, less maturity, and less experience than you have.

If you are ever tempted to doubt yourself as a parent, remember: God has selected you for this child and he needs your guidance.

Children will manipulate if they can.

Take note: No matter how clever your bright child argues, you have the wisdom of the God who is the Creator of the Universe, you have the maturity that life’s responsibilities has given you, and you have years of life experience, all of which trump your child’s abilities. And lest there be any arrogance attached to his/her abilities, remember: these are God-given gifts for God’s purposes.

My nine-year-old son, who is bright, tends towards seeking control. This is his primary weakness and he regrets arguing, manipulating and dictating. Although he is changing slowly, his attempts at tyranny continue.

If I argue with him, we get nowhere. My authority comes, not from winning debate, but from my confidence and my role. Direct confrontation does not work.

Remaining detached from my emotions – ignoring how he can wind me up, for example – weakens his attempts to draw me into argument. And teaching him right from wrong and fearlessly drawing from God’s Word convicts him, provokes him to think, and removes authority from his debate. We have discussed the first commandment with a promise: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Does your child seem to have somehow, in her intelligent mind, come to believe she who wins the argument is right? Instead, when I keep a sunny face, don’t get riled, and stand firm on consequences, I seem to be keeping me sane and to be helping her to learn her place.

In my case, perhaps because he’s growing up as an only child, it’s easier for him to remain self-centred. As his parents, my husband and I have sometimes substituted ourselves as the siblings he needs to play with and negotiate with during game playing. Maybe this good intention has blurred the boundaries for him. Or perhaps he’s just predisposed to being a dictator.

The key is, he’s loved, he knows it and is gradually learning that growing up means giving love as well as receiving it, and that intelligence is a responsibility, not a mechanism for winning and getting one’s own way. It mustn’t be easy being 9 in a world of adults!

But neither is it easy being the parent of a quick and determined child.

A lot of prayer goes into raising a child. And the child God gives you will be a challenge, especially as you want her to grow into the person God has created her to be.

God has given you this child, and you are the ideal parent for him. God chose you, just as he chose Moses to lead His people into the Promised Land. Moses had doubts about himself and so might you. But as you stand fast, avoid head-butting competition, and trust that God has provided you with the gifts and abilities needed to raise a God-loving, God-fearing, respectful child, you will prepare your son or daughter for all life brings.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he grows up he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

For I have told him [Ely] that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.” 1 Samuel 3:13-14 (bold = mine)

There is plenty of scripture that will help your child to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and will teach her the path she should go. Age appropriate theological input is one component that God provides for us as parents to use, to help our children learn and draw closer to God, and stay close to family. See in particular, Colossians 3:12: Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]”

Here is input from SENG (supporting emotional needs of the gifted).

See you next month, 1st December. In the meantime, if you found this helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend? I’d like to expand the readership network for Life from the Lighthouse.

And why not send in a comment or anecdote of your own particular experience, so that others can benefit from your insight and experience. For, ‘How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.’ Psalm 133

 

Helpmeet – husbands and wives helping each other

Is it only that wives are meant to help their husbands? Are men called to help their wives?

It isn’t commonly viewed as scriptural, but I believe husbands need to be a helper to wives just as wives are called to help their husbands, if we are all to fulfill our callings and to experience personal fulfillment too.

In the 21st century, while there is still evidence of chauvinism, it is pretty much established to be socially incorrect to be so. Whether it’s women putting down men for not being sensible about child care, or men putting down women for shortcomings, it is taboo to do so in most Western circles today.

Scripture is relatively clear on this when it comes to marriage and sums up the spousal relationship this way:

‘Men love your wives, wives submit to (or respect) your husbands.’

The full version is found in Ephesians 5:

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord doesthe church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Now you can identify many ways that a man can love his wife. I believe being a helper to her is one of them.

Now the help meet/help mate/helper part comes from Genesis 2:

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Whatever translation you choose to enjoy, what I want to draw attention to is that men need to be helpful in order to achieve all God has them to do. And so do women.

Both spousal partners need to know they are loved and respected by the other. Sometimes the LORD God calls us into the unknown, and the only support we have is from our spouse; sometimes, simply showing faith in our spouses is incredibly helpful to them and it’s what they need in order to accomplish God’s calling. Sometimes our spouse is the sincere friend who tells us like it is, or encourages us when we feel defeated. Always, we need to be able to rely on the love and support of our spouse. For, when that is in tact, we can feel the confidence to move the mountains the LORD allows in order to grow our character and to fulfill His calling.

Fulfilling the call of God is a challenge that invigorates, inspires, nourishes and engages us in life; a sense of purpose gives us the perseverance to carry on through the difficult times in life. But the love of the one nearest to us gives us the courage and hope to persevere, even when all else fails. Each of us has a call in this life. We who are married need to help the spouse we’ve chosen to fulfill his/her call just as much as he/she needs to help us to fulfill ours.

Alan and ISo, I ask you and I ask myself: Am I being a helper to my spouse? And, am I open to receive help when it is offered?

Grace to give and to receive is valuable – and to be valued. Love and grace are closely linked. So let us love one another and be gracious, helpful and kind, so that in all things we mirror the love God has shown us, so that the world will see our love and God will be glorified.

Grace and peace to you in your life, marriage and all relationships.

How to live a fulfilled life with the Holy Spirit

Today I recommend another person’s writing. Bill Johnson has written Dreaming with God, a beautiful book that reminds us how deeply valued we are by Father God, and how greatly empowered we are by Holy Spirit. Dreaming with God

God’s word is living and it lives through the Holy Spirit engaging with our reading and meditation of the words in the Bible. “We thrive with the spirit of revelation, but we perish without it” and “God hides things for you not from you” are key thoughts that the pastor expands. He challenges our thinking with, “It’s difficult to get the same fruit as the early church when we value a book that they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have.”

Totally Jesus-centered and committed to encouraging the evangelical mindset, Bill Johnson offers a way forward to draw Believers into deeper intimacy and transformation, greater understanding and fulfillment in Dreaming with God.

 

For a wide range of my longer posts, discussing Wholeness, Witness, Word and Worship and Warfare go to http://www.LarusPress.com and re-discover LarusBlog.

God bless.

How to recognize what gets in the way of God’s plans

Is fear getting in your way? What do I do if I never seem to succeed in the plans God has for me? Can I overcome obscurity, poverty or mediocrity? logo Master Lighthouse - script If there is fear in your life, it can be overcome through Christ. Sometimes, it is helpful to recognize the root of it and in so doing, you can be alert to distractions that arise. I find myself getting distracted whenever accomplishment is close… because I have felt tentative about success. Here’s my story as outlines in my blog, “A Life Examined” at http://sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com: Obscurity. What is the opposite of success? Obscurity is the opposite of success. Do you know a cure for fear of success? Self knowledge is the cure for fear of success… at least it is for me. A couple of weeks ago I spoke on the subject of Fear… not I branched into the subject of Fear of Success. I have continued to think about this issue, because until recently I’d not put my finger on why I am afraid of success. Now, I believe I have discovered the cause. Last week I reached out, stretched forth, eager and willing to strain toward success and overcoming fear. Then, I hit on the root cause or the essence of my fear. Allow me to explain. As an author, in order to achieve success my name needs to be recognized so that my words and my books will be read. Now, thanks to Lance Wallnau (“Take All 7” (c) 2008, Lance Learning Group), an expert and public speaker on personal and organizational transformation, I’ve recognized my own hand in my failure. What provokes failure? In my case, success has eluded me because I’ve shrunk from notoriety. I have held onto my identity as a person who is unknown. I have done so because – at least in my perception – my peer group, who has different aspirations and interests, exists in relative obscurity. While I’ve worked hard to perfect my writing craft and have sought to grow as a person with a worthwhile message, in secret I’ve wanted to maintain the status quo… I have remained obscure and have resisted the very success I have worked so hard to achieve, because I’ve clung to my peer group. I have feared the notoriety I need to become successful. In order to succeed, I need to allow my identity to change… I need to allow myself to connect with a different set of peers. I don’t mean I can’t keep my friends. I mean I need to allow myself to reach into an identity that has a set of peers who is ‘successful’, who has the sort of notoriety I need in order to be successful. I have friends and acquaintances that excel in their work. But for the most part, I don’t have friends or acquaintances who strive for the public recognition that I strive for. In fact, the thought of belonging in a peer group of famed people intimidates me. And that is what has held me back. I have feared success because I’ve feared relating to people of that sort of success. How do I change? My attitude needs to grow into one of accepting all people and of recognizing that notoriety is just a facet of some people’s lives. Without allowing myself the recognition I need to draw people to buy my books, I’m not going to succeed. I need to allow myself to entertain the notion of belonging to a different set of peers. I need to face the fear of loneliness. I need to allow myself to accept this new set of peers before I meet them, so that I can accept myself as a part of this peer group. I need to accept myself as a person of notoriety; I need to accept who I will be as a person of success. I need to trust that I will not be different just because my position is different. And I need to be willing to allow myself to be in that different position. Last week I said I was eager to soar. Now I need to spread my wings. I need to embrace whatever encounter I may have with whatever set of people I may encounter. Then, I will no longer fear the recognition I need to build, and I will be ready to succeed. God bless and a Happy August to all!