• QUOTE FOR TODAY

    "God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation…Therefore let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose."
    -- John Piper

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  • James 2:14-17

    What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

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The Meaning of Marriage

I’m digging in to a new book called “The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God.”

I have to say that after 3 chapters I am really finding this to be a refreshing approach to the subject of marriage and the fact that it has been created by God.  I especially like the fact that it’s not bunch of self-help, problem solving mumbo jumbo, but rather a Biblical approach to a subject that is in need of the right perspective.

More to follow, but I encourage you to check out some of the reviews and take a look at the author’s website as well

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Decisions, decisions — What is God’s Will (part II)

When we left off last time, I was at a point in my life where I knew I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing for a living. In the middle of this entire process, we sat down with Ron and explained what we were feeling.  I talked with my parents (who also live there) and remember getting choked up as I talked about not wanting to miss my kids’ growing up.  I made the decision that I was going to look for other work.   Ron (who was also dealing with the same ‘travel stuff’ that I was) decided that he was going to continue on for another year.  He started looking for another partner to help him out, and I started to look for another job.  Keep in mind that the Michigan economy was already stagnant due to a number of auto industry layoffs, and closures.  Finding a job wasn’t going to be easy.

 

The daily stress of potentially being unemployed was starting to take a toll on me.  I was frequently fighting nausea or a pit in my stomach.  I did everything that a desperate job seeker should do.  I panicked.  No, not totally, but I looked everywhere for employment.  I had some leads, and a few things looked promising, but nothing really came together.  Through all of this I was determined to stay in Michigan.  Never once, did I consider moving for a job.  Sharon came to me and suggested that I start looking for work back in Illinois.  I am sure she was hesitant to suggest it, not wanting to seem like she was pushing to move back home. 

 

Relocating again seemed impractical to me at the time.  Bigger than the impracticality of it, I think I was trying to do all of this on my own (hindsight is 20/20).  I will get more into that later.  Anyway, within days I had a job offer in Illinois.  It wasn’t enough money, but it was a start.  On a whim, I called the employer I left less than a year prior.  Two days later I was having lunch with my old manager, and I had an offer to come back in a different capacity.  The details worked out, and within two weeks we had confirmed everything and set a start date. 

I was relieved.  There seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel. 

 

Little did I know I was entering a storm of stress and chaos. We put our house on the market (does this sound familiar?)  I barely had finished all of the projects in time.  In fact, the day before our first open house, I installed and painted the last remaining door.  Sharon was pregnant with our daughter at this time.  The insurance with my new (old) employer didn’t kick in for 90 days.  This meant we somehow needed to be in Michigan when Cassidy entered this world.  I hadn’t quite figured out how that was going to work, at the time.  Sharon’s parents graciously allowed us to live with them until our Michigan house sold and we could find a new house in Illinois.  We packed some clothes and planned to leave the last week of March, 2004.  Sharon was going to return to Michigan for her regular monthly doctor visits, and would live with my parents for the week or two prior to Cassidy’s birth.  Boy, this was coming together nicely.  Sure, the house hadn’t sold yet, but everything else was working out perfectly. 

 

It came time to get in the car for Illinois.  The bags were packed and ready to be loaded in the trunk.  Sharon was having some “issues” related to the pregnancy.  I’m not going to get into all the details, but she was right around 30 weeks at this point.  She called the doctor, and they wanted to see her– just to be safe.  We planned on leaving right after the appointment with the doctor.   The doctor did not know of our ‘travel plans.’  Sharon called from the car on the way home.  She had that ‘tone’ in her voice.  She was dilated to three centimeters.  For those of you that don’t have kids, this is a huge problem.  In effect, she was in labor about 10 weeks early. The doctor put her on bed-rest and told her not to move for the next 10 weeks or so. The goal was 36 weeks.  Sharon’s prayer was 40 weeks.   The doctor scheduled weekly appointments from this point forward. 

 

This might be a good time to recap.  Here are 10 things to remember:

 

1.  I have a job in Illinois that I need to start, soon.

2.  I have a wife who seems to be in (REALLY) early labor

3.  My wife has to stay in bed, in Michigan, under doctor’s orders.

4.  We have a four year old. 

5.  #3 and #4 don’t really work well, together.

6.  We have no insurance in Illinois.  Did I mention the early labor part?

7.  We have a house in Michigan – this is good and bad

8.  We don’t have a house in Illinois

9.  We were supposed to move in with my in-laws for short time.  Now I am moving in there by myself.

10.  I have stress.  Lots of stress.

 

Part III (the conclusion) coming soon.

Some conversations shouldn’t be done via text message

The other day I exchanged a series of text messages with my wife.  Communicating with one’s spouse via text message is neither efficient nor personal, but sometimes it is necessary.   When we do actually talk on the phone, it seems to take at least 20 minutes to wrap up whatever we need to say.  Don’t get me wrong, I like talking to my wife.  But, if we had to actually talk every time something needed to be communicated (like: get milk on way home), we might talk for hours on end.  This would result in my boss firing me, which would mean I couldn’t pay the cell phone bill or buy the aforementioned milk.  But, I digress.

Somehow we ventured into a text-conversation that was far better suited to a face to face encounter.  Keep in mind that it is difficult to express emotion or light-heartedness or humor in a text message.  That series of  dots (……..) or  the 😉 just doesn’t cut it. 

Here’s how the conversation ended:  I suggested that my beautiful wife should start her workout at 4AM instead of 5AM so that when I leave a 6AM, I don’t find her atop her bike sweating profusely, stinking up the utility room.  I further suggested that if my lovely bride could be all showered and dressed and put together before I leave for my long day at the office I would have much more favorable image of her that would stay with me through the day.  This would result in more compliments from me to her, thereby building her esteem and keeping her ‘love-tank’ full.   I probably carried it too far when I mentioned that having my breakfast ready would be nice, too. 

When she didn’t reply for a long time I knew I was in trouble.    When the reply finally came it read like this:

“that’s reassuringL 

Remember, how I said earlier that you can’t really express emotion in a text message?   I was wrong.  Whoa was I wrong.  I got every drop of emotional sentiment in that reply.  My feeble, sheepish attempts to redeem myself looked like this:

Just Kidding

You know I’m not serious

Yeah, those didn’t work.  Oh, we’re fine now…..after the beating, and the flowers, and daily massages until Christmas, and the new car, and the vacation home, I finally understand what I need to do:  Cancel the text message option on my cell phone plan.

In all seriousness, during this whole event (some most of which was embellished for creative effect—I mean I can’t afford a vacation home) I did come to realize that I was taking my wife for granted. 

I have an amazing woman who married me nearly 12 years ago. 

  • She is a as beautiful today as the day I married her. 
  • Her relationship with God grows daily (even though she’ll tell you she feels kind of stagnant, spiritually speaking).
  • She has sacrificed much to stay home with our children with the hope that they become decent, responsible adults some day (hopefully they get good jobs because I am going to need some financial support after all this).
  • She works out daily. In part because she wants to feel good about herself, but in part to make sure she looks good for me. 
  • She manages our household on a shoestring budget, and knows the price of any given food or clothing item, at any given store, on any given day. 
  • People look at her and wish they could be like her in many ways. Yet, humbly, she doesn’t understand why they wish. 
  • She loves me for reasons I have yet to figure out.

 There’s a lot more on the list, but I will end with this:  Certain responsibilities necessitate that I get to church before her each Sunday.  Every time I see her come into the building an hour or so later, I remember the first time I saw her some 13 ½ years ago.  I can’t help but smile and get that little feeling in my stomach.  I don’t think I’ve told her that lately. 

In the end, I was reminded (again) that I need to tell her all of these things more.  Face to face. 

I was also reminded that I need to pray for her (and us) more.  I hope this little tale may cause you to start your own list about your spouse.  At least I hope you take an honest look at where you are at in your relationship and how you communicate with your spouse. 

God Bless