Monday, January 26, 2015

Marriage Matters

Wayne and I were in Fort Pierce, Florida trying to collect information on a former boss with whom he’d lost contact. We discovered he lived to be ninety-seven and the obit said he and his wife “had a beautiful marriage for sixty-six years.

I knew him during a time when their relationship wasn’t problem-free, but forgiveness and vulnerability and commitment restored it and made it beautiful. I was delighted to learn they made it to the victory lap.

As a marriage and family counselor for many decades I’m always interested in principles to help marriages stay strong. I recently heard the pastor of Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale say the key can be summed up in two words no secrets - total honesty. Truth-telling requires being emotionally vulnerable, opening your heart wide and only to your spouse.

A few days ago I heard from a woman who gave my women’s book now titled Loving Every Minute, 52 Ways to Live, Laugh & Love As A Woman to a female relative. She said the principles in it saved her marriage. This was more than a little thrilling to hear. Man in Command is the corollary book for men with principles to keep the family connection strong.

Wayne and I are fifty-two years into this thing called love and my advice to couples is hang in there for the long haul. It’s so worth it when you can share the memories of a lifetime together.

Don’t give up the joys of a lasting marriage for a momentary infatuation, sexual thrills or because you have personal struggles needing to be resolved. Ask for help from a pastor, a mature couple at church, read some helpful material, seek out counseling or do all of the above. Pray together even if you don’t feel like it - that's powerful too.

You can fall in love over and over again with the same person!!!

1 Peter Chapter 3 contains everything you need to know about love and respect for your spouse.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pie, Art and Angels

I was checking out pies in the bakery section of Winn-Dixie when a dignified elderly lady scooted over in her electric cart. She commented on how expensive the pumpkin pies were and I agreed. I ran into her minutes later near the donuts and she asked if I could do her a favor. I said I’d be happy to if I could.

She said her church had suggested everyone do something special for a stranger and could she give me $10. Before I stammered out a reply she opened her wallet and handed me the bill.

I was wide-eyed to say the least. We chatted briefly about her church and I shared that I was a Christian author. Might she want to choose someone else? No I was to be the one. What a sweet, gracious gift from God. I want to do something special with the money. The Salvation Army fund? Cookies for local police to encourage them and thank them? I’m praying. Lord, what would you have me do?

“In me and through me and for me” keeps running through my mind. In Christ and through Christ. We are receivers so that we can be givers. We give and receive again and again and the cycle never ends.

Just a few days before I’d been privileged to give a gift to a man named Lawrence. Wayne and I met Lawrence at a local marina. He was drawing a picture on his sketchpad of a moored boat. I noticed he'd only done a few although he seemed quite talented. Perhaps he hadn’t been at this long?

As we chatted I learned two months ago Lawrence went back to church after a forty-year absence. He said being there broke his depression and renewed his enthusiasm for life. He’d found a community of people who cared about him - another artist he met there encouraged him to take up drawing again. Happiness rippled from Lawrence. He was thrilled when I gave him a print copy of my Breathless Mini-Meditations to encourage his spiritual life.

Last week I gifted a print copy of my women’s book to a young mom I met on the beach with her three children. Watching her eyes light up was a gift to me.

It’s the unexpected that makes us feel special – that someone singles us out for no purpose but to bless us. Isn’t that being Christ in the world?
Or perhaps angels on assignment?

Giving and receiving. Christ came and gave all his love, all his life so that we might give with abandon. We need only see and speak to the saints and sinners and angels we meet in the course of our “ordinary” days to make our days truly extraordinary.

May something good happen through you and to you today and every day in 2015.